日付変更線 International Date Line

In this film recorded during the poet Takahashi Mutsuo’s 高橋睦郎 recent trip to Michigan, he reads from his memoirs Twelve Views from the Distance 『十二の遠景』about his memories of his mother in the days immediately before she abandoned him to go to China.  

In 
intimate, poetic language, this book describes Takahashi’s youth in a poor, rural family in southwestern Japan and the tragic ways his family’s destiny intersected with the rise and fall of the Japanese empire.  Click here to go to the Amazon page for this book.

高橋睦郎『十二の遠景』の新書評 

The newest issue of Rain Taxi included this review of my translation of TAKAHASHI Mutsuo’s memoirs Twelve Views from the Distance.  The author, Amanda Vail, wrote: 

Twelve Views from the Distance does not hesitate to present uncomfortable subjects (violence, lust, death, adultery, greed) with as much honesty as moments of beauty, love, and charity. It is an elegant novel; the overarching imagery floats gently on the surface of Takahashi’s words, carried smoothly from memory to memory, shading the events of the author’s life and presenting avenues into the world of his childhood…. 

Takahashi’s memoir presents not only the difficulties faced by citizens living through a war, but also the challenges of growing up in poverty, of being raised by a single mother who is forced to make ends meet in creative ways, and of exploring an alternative sexuality, among others. The novel presents twelve reflections on the time and place it depicts; some of the details are very specific, and many are universal. Throughout, Twelve Views from the Distance is unflinching, compassionate, and beautiful.

Click here to read the entire review.
Click here to go to the page for the book on Amazon.  

 

高橋睦郎X伊藤比呂美のミシガン州朗読ツアー

Next week, two of the most thrilling and dynamic Japanese poets, Mutsuo TAKAHASHI and Hiromi ITŌ, will be visiting Michigan for a series of three poetry readings and talks at Western Michigan University, University of Michigan, and Kalamazoo College’s Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership.  Details about each of the three events can be found in the posters above.  Already, the poets are talking about how to make each of the events unique and fun, so no two events will be the same. 

Mutsuo TAKAHASHI (b. 1937) stunned the poetry world in the 1960s with his bold evocations of homoerotic desire. Since then, he has published more than three dozen collections of verse and countless books of essays, earning a place as Japan’s most important gay writer. In addition to poetry, he has written novels, plays, haiku, tanka, countless essays, and even an opera libretto. Five volumes of his work are available in English, including Poems of a Penisist, which became a favorite work of Allen Ginsberg, and the memoir Twelve Views from the Distance, much admired by novelist Yukio MISHIMA. Takahashi currently lives in Zushi, Japan.

Hiromi ITŌ (b. 1955) made a sensational debut in the 1980s writing about sexual desire, pregnancy, and abortion with a directness that shocked some and made her a feminist hero to others. Since then, she has become a prominent fixture in the literary world, writing with unfailing originality about women’s issues and experiences. She has lived in California since 1997 and written several prize-winning works about her experience as a transnational migrant. Her English translations include Killing Kanoko, which was on the SPD Poetry Bestseller list for over one year, and the forthcoming Wild Grass on the Riverbank. She lives outside San Diego.

One of the most poetic visual artists is the American surrealist Joseph Cornell. Each one of his small-scale installations—whether it be filled with antiques, bits of broken glass, balls, sand, or clippings from books and magazines—serves as a small, intimate world that draws the viewer in, inviting him or her to make sense of the work’s poetically suggestive juxtapositions. For this reason, the Japanese poet Takahashi Mutsuo, has long been drawn to Cornell’s work.

Takahashi Mutsuo
This World, or the Man of the Boxes
Dedicated to Joseph Cornell

Pilgrim on earth, thy name is heaven,
Stranger, thou art the guest of God.
—Mary Baker Eddy


The shade of sooty quince
The bloom of dusty roses
——And beyond that
A fence of metal wire     entwined with vines
Of spiderwort     or knotgrass perhaps?

There     tossed among the plants
Reclining     in a weather-worn wooden armchair
Hands folded at his abdomen     like a dead man
Who could he be     this man who looks as if
He was washed here from some distant world?
This man is a decrepit adolescent     a broken angel
Swept here by the ark of dreams     a boat in the shape of a box
When was that?     Yesterday     or a hundred years ago?

*

The world to which this man really belongs     is not here
The world to which this man really belongs
Is far away     through the fissures of dream
Guarded by sensible, steadfast parents
This man wearing a starched collar     is a clever boy
He has two beautiful younger sisters
And a younger brother with an upright spirit
This family of angels with wings hidden under their fancy dress
Is enveloped in golden happiness
That world     of distant memories
Is like a box     floating in a galaxy of tears

*

One morning suddenly     that box-shaped boat ran ashore
In the doorway to that timeless world of happiness
When was that?    A second     or a hundred million years ago?
Dreams are always nightmares     interlopers with foul intent
Drawn by death     the father was pulled backward
And the rest of the family were dragged quickly away
It was here they disembarked     the backyard of a sickly city
Here     not even angels could escape human fate
The mother grew ill from anxiety     the sisters grew thin
And wrinkles spread across the brother’s spotless soul

*

In this false world perched atop the scales
This man was the quiet, noble head of the household
Working harder     growing old faster than everyone else
But     that was not the reality of who he was
His real self is hidden     under the disguise of an old man
Strewn across his chair     seated like a corpse
He inhales the blue-green seas     of his own world of reality
Watches clouds trailing behind airplanes     over the sea
And pricks up his ears to overhear the daytime dialogue of the stars

*

This man suddenly stands from his chair
And slowly descends     through the fallen leaves
Underground     he finds his own private box-like world
With objects     neatly stored in shelves and drawers
Candy boxes     pill boxes     candle boxes
Cut-outs from old images     musical scores     lost wooden blocks
Shells     brass rings     sky blue marbles
Cracked glasses     soap bubble sets——
These too are fragments of the real world
Drifted here through the fissures of dream
This man     gives himself plenty of time
How long?     One week     or thirty years?
He chooses the fragments     then puts them together
In just the right place     in just the right box
While the faint reflection     of the golden happiness
Belonging to the real world so far away
Turns into pale afternoon sunlight     and falls
Upon his deftly moving fingers

*

Is this man no longer at his chair in the garden?
Is he no longer at his basement table?
If he is nowhere to be found
This man     must never have been here at all
What we thought we saw was nothing more
Than the shadow of his real self
His shadowy eyelashes drawing the bow of vision toward the real world
His shadowy hands caressing the flotsam from the real world
It is not for us to lament his absence
Like little birds     we should descend into the garden to bathe as usual
And play on his basement window     like light

*

Then     what about these boxes?
The objects captured inside     the princesses
The ballerinas     the rabbit princes
The parrots     the honeybees     the butterflies
Does this man     lodge inside them
Borrowing the forms of these ephemeral creatures?
Like the garden and basement     these boxes are also
Cheap hotel rooms inhabited briefly    by this man’s shadow
It swings upon the roost     pours some sand
Creates nimble cracks across the panes of glass
And then vanishes
The destination for his shadow is the real world
These wistfully nostalgic boxes before us are
The frames around the well through which
We peer into that world and are drawn in



NOTE: Takahashi originally wrote the poem “This World, or the Man of the Boxes” for an exhibition of Cornell’s work held at the Kawamura Memorial Museum in Sakura, Japan. This poem was such a success that in 2010, when the same museum once again held a large scale Cornell exhibition, the curators invited Takahashi to write one poem to accompany each of the artworks. The result was the collaborative exhibition “Intimate Worlds Enclosed: Joseph Cornell x Takahashi Mutsuo,” which drew large crowds and quickly sold through multiple prints of its catalog. The English renditions of the poems in the catalog were done by Jeffrey Angles. For more information, see the museum’s website: http://kawamura-museum.dic.co.jp/en/exhibition/201004_cornell.html.

TAKAHASHI Mutsuo (1937- ) came to international attention in the 1970s for his bold expressions of homoerotic desire. He is one of Japan’s most prolific contemporary poets, with over three dozen anthologies of free-style verse, haiku, tanka, and other forms of poetry to his name. He is also one of the most thoroughly translated contemporary Japanese poets, with four volumes of his poetry available in English. A translation of his memoirs Twelve Views from the Distance, translated by Jeffrey Angles,was published in 2012 by University of Minnesota Press.

Poems about March 11, 2011 disasters in Japan

The March 11, 2011 earthquake that shook northeastern Japan also reverberated throughout Japanese society, forcing it to reconsider many of things things that it had taken for granted—its usage of energy, its relationship to the natural environment, its relationship with the government, and its modes of organizing at the grass-roots level.  Almost immediately, writers took action.  Many figures known for their involvement in social issues, writers such as Ōe Kenzaburō, Tsushima Yūko, and Ishimure Michiko, began respond and publish statements to the press, helping to use their influence to help shape reconstruction efforts and talk about new directions for the Japanese nation.  

Perhaps the segment of the Japanese literary world where the seismic forces of 3/11 were felt most strongly, however, was the poetic world.  Many Japanese newspapers include regular columns that include free verse (shi), tanka, or haiku poems, but in just the few days after 3/11, poetry began to emerge from those small columns and take a more prominent place in the news, eventually finding its way into a central position in the discourse that had started unfolding across the nation. Poetry exploded into the mainstream, serving as one of the ways that the nation thought about and processed its own complicated feelings about the disasters. 

Because I was in Japan at the time and experienced the quakes, numerous aftershocks, and anxiety personally, I have been unable to forget it.  After a few weeks of uncertainty and great worry, everything I had come to Japan to do was cancelled, and so I cut my stay short and returned to the United States ahead of schedule.   As one way of working through the experience and my complicated feelings about returning to America, I began translating a number of poems about the quake and the resulting disasters, mostly poems written by poets whom I admire.  Most of those translations have been published in various journals, mostly online. 

Here is a collection of links to some of those translations.  Some appear with the original Japanese.  Most of the poems first appeared in the May 2011 special issue of Handbook of Contemporary Poetry 『現代詩手帖』dedicated to the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown.  Some were also published in a special section in the daily newspaper Asahi shinbun published in commemoration of the first anniversary of the quake.  Others were published in various magazines or newspapers, but still, these poems are only the tiniest tip of the iceberg.  There are thousands upon thousands more poems out there.

TANIKAWA Shuntarō: “Words” 
谷川俊太郎「ことば」

WAGŌ Ryōichi: Pebbles of Poetry (Part I)
和合亮一『詩の礫』抄

TAKAHASHI Mutsuo: “These Things Here and Now”
高橋睦郎「いまここにこれらのことを」

YOSHIMASU Gōzō: “at the side (côtés) of poetry”
吉増剛造「詩のcôtésに」

ITŌ Hiromi: “Cooking, Writing Poetry”
伊藤比呂美「料理する、詩を書く」

ARAI Takako: "Half a Pair of Shoes" and "Galapagos"
新井高子「片方の靴」と「ガラパゴス」

HIRATA Toshiko: “Do Not Tremble” and "Please"
平田俊子「ゆれるな」と「どうか」

TANAKA Yōsuke: “Screaming Potato Field”
田中庸介「叫ぶ芋畑」

OHSAKI Sayaka: “Noisy Animal”
大崎紗香「うるさい動物」

Jeffrey ANGLES: “Return After Earthquake”
ジェフリー・アングルス「地震後の帰国」

The always beautiful literary journal Manoa, published by the University of Hawai’i, has an especially impressive and beautiful new issue centering on the theme of freedom and what that means for individuals, societies, cultures, nations, and religions.  It also contains an extract from my translation of Takahashi Mutsuo’s Twelve Views from the Distance—the entire first, unforgettable chapter of the book about a young boy dealing with his own mother’s attempts to find freedom in adversity.  Check Manoa out by clicking here.   

The always beautiful literary journal Manoa, published by the University of Hawai’i, has an especially impressive and beautiful new issue centering on the theme of freedom and what that means for individuals, societies, cultures, nations, and religions.  It also contains an extract from my translation of Takahashi Mutsuo’s Twelve Views from the Distance—the entire first, unforgettable chapter of the book about a young boy dealing with his own mother’s attempts to find freedom in adversity.  Check Manoa out by clicking here.   

David Burleigh at The Japan Times, just published this review of my translation of Takahashi Mutsuo’s memoirs Twelve Views from the Distance 高橋睦郎『十二の遠景』He describes how the book describes the grinding poverty and difficulty of Takahashi’s early life, then states,

Takahashi invokes a world that has now mostly disappeared, along with its bitterness and hunger. Yet it was also a rich world, for those who managed to survive it.

And what was the secret of survival? Undoubtedly to some extent it was the poet’s imagination. Near the end he writes: “My undeveloped, youthful soul felt a strong affinity for what was outside my world in the realm of the other.”

With photographs and a retrospective afterword by the author, this is an excellent translation of an absorbing and necessary book.

Because I worked on this translation a little at a time, often working in half-hour increments pilfered from other projects, this translation took me a number of years from start to publication, beginning in 2006 until around 2010.  It was then another couple of years before it found its way into print in late 2012 with University of Minnesota Press, which took quite a chance on deciding publish this rather unusual, but profoundly beautiful book. This project was a long labor of love, and so it means an enormous deal to me that this book review—the first to be published—is so enthusiastic.  

高橋睦郎『十二の遠景』英訳の表紙
ミネソタ大学出版部

University of Minnesota Press just published my translation of Twelve Views from the Distance, the memoirs of TAKAHASHI Mutsuo, originally published in Japan in 1970.  The book is a beautiful object: the cover is embossed, and the design shows a small boat floating on a distant sea.  In many ways, this captures the right mood for this memoir, in which one of Japan’s most important poets looks across the distance of the years and remembers his poverty-stricken youth in Kyushu during World War II.

On the back of the book are two blurbs.  The first is by Edmund White, the great American known for his bold, homoerotic memoirs.  (I was thrilled that White, whom I read with such interest during my own adolescence and coming out, agreed to write the blurb for my translation.)

Twelve Views from the Distance is a wrenching memoir about growing up in southern Japan during the war and just afterward in an extremely poor family of day laborers.  Utterly dependent on his hard-bitten grandmother and his often absent mother, Mutsuo Takahashi withdraws into himself and lives in his very rich imagination.  That he was destined to become Japan’s leading gay poet may or may not be obvious from these painful but lyrical memories.

The other is from MISHIMA Yukio, who wrote the following in 1970, just a few months before his dramatic suicide. 

Mutsuo Takahashi has managed to achieve firm prose that, while unmistakably the work of a poet, shines with a black luster much like a set of drawers crafted by a master of old. This book is a magnificent collection of sensations and of memories, much like the toys we might find in a dark closet. The part toward the end in which the theme of his ‘search for a father’ crystallizes in a copy of an erotic book radiates a certain tragic beauty.

My translation of this book was supported through grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the PEN Translation Fund.  Thank you for believing in this project. 

Connotations Press has just published online a bilingual sampling of contemporary Japanese poets, including some of Japan’s most brilliant writers, such as the Tanikawa Shuntarō 谷川俊太郎 (the fun writer sometimes known as “Japan’s national poet”), Takahashi Mutsuo 高橋睦郎 (who is nothing short of a staggering genius in my book), and others. There are a few of my own translations in here, and a more than a few poems that react to the disastrous earthquake last year. The selection was edited by Alan Botsford Saitoh, poet and editor of the annual Poetry Kanto.

Tanikawa Shuntarō, translated by Elliott & Kazuo
Tanikawa Shuntarō 谷川俊太郎
. Across the 60 years of Tanikawa’s publishing career he became and remains the most widely-read of all post-war Japanese poets
Read more…  

Nomura Kiwao, translated by Jordan A. Yamaji Smith
Nomura Kiwao
 
野村喜和夫 studied Japanese literature at Waseda University and pursued doctoral studies in French literature at Meiji University. Read more..

Tanaka Yōsuke, translated by Jeffrey Angles

Tanaka Yōsuke
田中庸介 (1969- ) is a research scientist specializing in molecular cell biology at the University of Tokyo. Read more…  

Hachikai Mimi, translated by Miho Nonaka
Hachikai Mimi
蜂飼耳 was born in 1974, in Kanagawa Prefecture of Japan. She received a Master’s degree in Ancient Japanese literature
Read more…  

Minashita Kiriu, translated by Leith Morton
Minashita Kiriu
水無田気流 was born in Kanagawa Prefecture in 1970 and was educated at Waseda University. Her first book of poetry Onsoku Heiwa
Read more…  

Abe Hinako, translated by Hiroaki Sato
Abe Hinako
阿部日奈子(born 1953). “Born in Samarkand, Uzbek,” she once said of her life, “I moved south through China during the Cultural Revolution
Read more…  

Hirata Toshiko, translated by Jeffrey Angles
Hirata Toshiko
平田俊子 (1955-) is a prominent Japanese poet and novelist. During the 1980s, she, along with Itō Hiromi, emerged as one of the
Read more…  

Takahashi Mutsuo, translated by Jeffrey Angles
Takahashi Mutsuo 高橋睦郎
(1937-) is one of Japan’s most prominent living poets. Since first attracting the attention of the Japanese literary world
Read more…  

Yotsumoto Yasuhiro, translated by Leith Morton
Yotsumoto Yasuhiro
四元康祐 was born in Osaka in 1959, and was educated at Sophia University in Tokyo, and at the University of Pennsylvania.
Read more…

Sugimoto Maiko, translated by Carden & Tarcov
Sugimoto Maiko
杉本真維子 (b. 1973, Nagano) published her first chapbook in 1998. Read more…


The newest issue of Asymptote, one of the very best and innovative online journals of international fiction, includes an excerpt from my translation of TAKAHASHI Mutsuo's memoirs Twelve Views from the Distance. Takahashi is one of Japan’s most prominent poets, known for his bold explorations of homoeroticism as well as for his philosophical and erudite writing. 

Asymptote includes an English translation, the original text, and an MP3 of a reading of the text in the original language.  The reading in this issue is by OKAMOTO Sayuri, one of the editors, and with her quiet, intimate voice, she brings the original Japanese alive in a beautiful way. 

The entire book is scheduled to be published in fall 2012 by University of Minnesota Press. The illustration above is by Hugo Muecke.

In honor of National Poetry Month 2012

高橋睦郎の英訳の表紙(近刊)
ミネソタ大学出版部(2012年秋予定)

In fall 2012, University of Minnesota Press will be publishing two books by one of Japan’s most important poets, TAKAHASHI Mutsuo 高橋睦郎.  One is my translation of Twelve Views from the Distance 『十二の遠景』, a sumptuously beautiful book first published in 1970.  This book describes Takahashi’s troubled, impoverished early life in rural, southern Japan and the ways that his family’s fortunes intersected with the rise of the Japanese empire and World War II. Takahashi’s friend, the novelist MISHIMA Yukio 三島由紀夫, lauded the book with these words.  

It is magnificent that in this book, Twelve Views from the Distance, the poet Mutsuo Takahashi has managed to achieve firm prose that, while unmistakably the work of a poet, shines with a black luster much like a set of drawers crafted by a master of old. This book is a magnificent collection of sensations and of memories, much like the toys we might find in a dark closet.

The other forthcoming book by Takahashi is a reissue of Hiroaki Sato’s translation Poems of a Penisist, which brings together much of Takahashi’s most important early poetry, much of which deals with existentialist themes and homoerotic material.  This collection includes the long poem Ode ( Homeuta), which the publisher Winston Leyland has called “the great gay poem of the 20th century.” It is said that Allen Ginsberg was so impressed by this collection of poetry that he personally lobbied Lawrence Ferlinghetti at City Lights Books to publish more of Takahashi’s work. 

The Asahi Shinbun online is posting a series of poems about the earthquake written by some of Japan’s most important contemporary poets in commemoration of the first anniversary of the 3.11 earthquake, tsunami, and Fukushima nuclear disaster.  The poems come with a film of the poet reading his or her work.

Just now, I watched Takahashi Mutsuo’s contribution to the series, a stunning invocation of the effects of the triple disaster on language.  It begins “Language was what was broken / We did not realize this at the beginning / Because the destruction came so slowly.” He continues on through his reflections on the role of poetry and language in the wake of a catastrophe on such an enormous scale.

In his personal conversations with me, Takahashi lamented that after the earthquake, he went through a period of blankness, in which he felt that language was not enough to grasp, to conceive the scale of the horror inflicted upon the nation.  Nothing he wrote could cope with the scale of the disaster, and he did not know how to heal.  This coincided with his own realization of his advancing age—another concern reflected in this poem.  Still, in this poem, he seems to find the way forward, as he realizes that the world began with the destruction of the big bang and is hurtling toward entropy.  He cautions us that language is not always necessary.  It is not always necessary to pour trauma into language.  Waiting can sometimes be the path to heal. 

Takahashi is most recently the author of the book Two Thousand Years of the Poetic Mind: From Susanoo to 3.11 「詩心二千年:スサノヲから3・11へ」, published by Iwanami Shoten(岩波書店, 2011).

Poet Brandon Shimoda has just compiled this second issue of Ancients, an e-anthology that contains links to lots of previously published poems available on the web.  This issue is dedicated entirely to contemporary Japanese poetry in English translation, and contains of links to super cool poems, videos, and concrete poetry.

records-ancients-matters:

ANCIENTS Issue # JAPAN is composed entirely of links to previously published translations of the work of thirty-three Japanese poets born within the one hundred years comprising the late and fabled twentieth century, with every tribute to the translators and every thank-you to the original venues for existing this work. Read ANCIENTS Issue # Zero here. Coming soon: ANCIENTS Issue # One.

____________________________________________________________

Hinako Abe, Reflective Optic Chamber. Translated by Jeffrey Angles. In How 2, Volume 2, Issue 3, Spring 2005. Born 1953.

Takako Arai, Three Poems. Translated by Jeffrey Angles. Octopus Magazine, Issue 13. Born 1966.

Shoko Ema, Three Poems. Translated by Miryam Sas. In How2, Volume 2, Number 2, Spring 2004. Born 1913.

Akiko Fujiwara, Two Poems. Translated by Malinda Markham. In How 2, Volume 2, Issue 3, Spring 2005. Born 1974.

Ginema, Haiku Performance. Read Jeffrey Angles’ “quick, off-the-cuff” translations here. Read also Joyelle McSweeney’s commentary of a Ginema performance at the Tokyo Poetry Festival, 2011, with translations by Eric Selland.

Takashi Hiraide, from For The Fighting Spirit of the Walnut. Translated by Sawako Nakayasu. In Octopus Magazine, Issue 10. Born 1950.

Toshiko Hirata, Two Poems. Translated by Hiroaki Sato. In How 2, Volume 2, Issue 3, Spring 2005. Born 1955.

Yoko Isaka, Four Poems. Translated by Eric Selland and Sawako Nakayasu. In How2, Volume 2, Issue 3, Spring 2005.

Hiromi Ito, Five Poems. Translated by Jeffrey Angles. In Action Yes, Volume 1, Issue 5, Spring 2008. Born 1955.

Kitasono Katue, from White Album. Translated by John Solt. In Light & Dust Anthology of Poetry. Born 1901.

Hiroshi Kawasaki, Tree. Translated by Takako Lento. In Poetry International Web. Born 1930.

Ayane Kawata, from Castles in the Air. Translated by Sawako Nakayasu. In Almost Island, Winter 2011. Born 1940.

Fuyuhiko Kitagawa, Small Bird in a Dismembered Landscape & Five Short Poems. Translated by Jerome Rothenberg. On Jerome Rothenberg’s Poems and Poetics, April 30, 2011. Born 1900.

Masayo Koike, In the midst of reverberations. Translated by Hiroaki Sato. In How 2, Volume 2, Issue 3, Spring 2005. Born 1959.

Kiriu Minashita, Life History. Translated by Jeffrey Angles. In Other Voices, Volume 42, 2009. Born 1970.

Koi Nagata, Selected Haiku. Translated by Eric Selland. On durationpress.com. Born 1900.

Seiichi Niikuni, Three Concrete Poems. The National Museum of Art, Osaka. Born 1925.

Kiwao Nomura, Three Poems. Translated by Kyoko Yoshida and Forrest Gander. In alligatorzine 76. Born 1951.

Kyong-Mi Park, Three Poems. Translated by Hiroaki Sato. In Green Integer Review, No. 2, March-April 2006. Born 1956.

Chika Sagawa, Fifteen Poems. Translated by Sawako Nakayasu. In How2, Volume 2, Number 2, Spring 2004. Born 1911.

Ryoko Sekiguchi. Six Poems from Helios. Translated by Sarah O’Brien. In Other Voices, Volume 41, 2009. Born 1970.

Matsui Shigeru, Quantum Poems (2002-2004). Method Poem Works, etc … the website of Matsui Shigeru. Born 1975.

Kazuko Shiraishi, Tulip’s Ear and A Wandering Estonian. Translated by Yumiko Tsumura and Samuel Grolmes. In Poetry International Web.

Chimako Tada, From a Woman of a Distant Land. Translated by Jeffrey Angles. The Academy of American Poets website. Born 1930.

Mutsuo Takahashi, This World, or the Man of the Boxes. Translated by Jeffrey Angles. On Jerome Rothenberg’s Poems and Poetics, July 13, 2011. Born 1937.

Ryuichi Tamura, Nine Poems. Translated by Samuel Grolmes and Yumiko Tsumura. On the CCC Books website. Born 1923.

Yosuke Tanaka, Africa. Translated by Jeffrey Angles. In Poetry International Web. Born 1969.

Yoko Tawada, The Flight of the Moon. Translated by Bruno Navasky. In Poetry International Web. Born 1960.

Yuka Tsukagoshi, Four Poems. Translated by Yuka Tsukagoshi and Eric Selland. In Eleven Eleven, Issue 8

Ryoichi Wago, Banzai, Banzai, Banzai. Performed live as part of the Festival of Contemporary Japanese Women Poets, November 15-17, 2006, New York City. Born 1968.

Gozo Yoshimasu, Naked Memos. In Asymptote Journal, January 2011. Born 1939.

Minoru Yoshioka, Rooster. Translated by Eric Selland. On durationpress.com. Born 1919.

Syoji Yoshizawa, Eleven sound, visual and concrete poems. In Light & Dust Anthology of Poetry. Born 1937.

One of the most poetic visual artists is the American surrealist Joseph Cornell. Each one of his small-scale installations—whether it be filled with antiques, bits of broken glass, balls, sand, or clippings from books and magazines—serves as a small, intimate world that draws the viewer in, inviting him or her to make sense of the work’s poetically suggestive juxtapositions. For this reason, the poet TAKAHASHI Mutsuo 高橋睦郎, has long been drawn to Cornell’s work.

Jerome Rothenberg’s blog has recently posted a translation of one of Takahashi’s poems “This World, of the Man of the Boxes,”  written for an exhibition of Cornell’s work held at the Kawamura Memorial Museum in Sakura, Japan and translated by Jeffrey Angles. This poem was such a success that in 2010, when the same museum once again held a large scale Cornell exhibition, the curators invited Takahashi to write one poem to accompany each of the artworks. The result was the collaborative exhibition “Intimate Worlds Enclosed: Joseph Cornell x Takahashi Mutsuo,” which drew large crowds and quickly sold through multiple prints of its catalog. The English renditions of the poems in the catalog were done by Jeffrey Angles. For more information, see the museum’s website: http://kawamura-museum.dic.co.jp/en/exhibition/201004_cornell.html.



TAKAHASHI Mutsuo (1937- ) came to international attention in the 1970s for his bold expressions of homoerotic desire. He is one of Japan’s most prolific contemporary poets, with over three dozen anthologies of free-style verse, haiku, tanka, and other forms of poetry to his name. He is also one of the most thoroughly translated contemporary Japanese poets, with four volumes of his poetry available in English, including the recent Irish publication On Two Shores: New and Selected Poems, translated by Mitsuko Ohno and Frank Sewell (Dedalus Press, 2006). A translation of his memoirs is forthcoming in 2012 from University of Minnesota Press.

The always wonderful online journal of international literature Cerise Press has published two more excerpts from my translation of TAKAHASHI Mutsuo’s 高橋睦郎 beautiful memoir Twelve Views from the Distance 『十二の遠景』.  Click below for links to the two excerpts. 
 
Spirited AwaySkies of Blood
This lovely book describes Takahashi’s experiences growing up poor in rural southern Japan, during the final years of World War II.  The Japanese novelist Mishima Yukio 三島由紀夫 praised the book highly,  calling it “firm prose that shines with a dark luster much like a set of  drawers crafted by a master of old.”
Last year, Cerise Press also published two more excerpts from the book.  Communities Outside the WorldOn Mother’s Back
The entire book will be published by University of Minnesota Press in Fall 2012.  The photograph above shows the infant Takahashi with his mother. 

The always wonderful online journal of international literature Cerise Press has published two more excerpts from my translation of TAKAHASHI Mutsuo’s 高橋睦郎 beautiful memoir Twelve Views from the Distance 『十二の遠景』.  Click below for links to the two excerpts. 

Spirited Away
Skies of Blood

This lovely book describes Takahashi’s experiences growing up poor in rural southern Japan, during the final years of World War II.  The Japanese novelist Mishima Yukio 三島由紀夫 praised the book highly, calling it “firm prose that shines with a dark luster much like a set of drawers crafted by a master of old.”

Last year, Cerise Press also published two more excerpts from the book. 

Communities Outside the World
On Mother’s Back

The entire book will be published by University of Minnesota Press in Fall 2012.  The photograph above shows the infant Takahashi with his mother.