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Wakayama Bokusui

pkimg 15 bokusui Wakayama Bokusui




Wakayama Bokusui 若山 牧水  (1885–1928)  was a modern Japanese tanka poet from rural Miyazaki Prefecture in southern Kyushu. He was active at the beginning of the 20th century, during the tanka revival started by Yosano Tekkan (1873 -1935), who founded the the literary magazine Myoji (Bright Star) in Tokyo in 1900 as a means, in part, towards infusing greater energy and freshness into the traditional form. Between 1908 and 1912, Bokusui’s poems gained popularity through publication in Myoji. Like other members of the Myoji group, Bokusui’s poems, according to the Japanese translator and literary scholar Donald Keene, were “filled with romantic expressions of grief and longing” but they also possessed something quite distinctive: “a vitality and a feeling for nature that set his work apart.” Bokusi traveled widely throughout Japan and Korea during his lifetime, composing a great many tanka along the way. He greatly enjoyed sake and this most likely contributed to his early death at forty-three years of age of liver illness.

Gregory Dunne is the author of two collections of poetry: Home Test (Adastra Press, 2009) and Fistful of Lotus (2000). His nonfiction book, Quiet Accomplishment, Remembering Cid Corman (Ekstasis Editions, 2014), was published in September of 2014. He has contributed to Strangest of Theaters: Poets Writing Across Borders (McSweeneys and the Poetry Foundation, 2013). His poetry and prose have appeared in numerous magazines, including the American Poetry Review, Manoa, Poetry East, and Kyoto Journal. He lives in Japan and teaches in the Faculty of Comparative Culture at Miyazaki International College.

Goro Takano, born in the city of Hiroshima, is an assistant professor in the Faculty of Medicine at Saga University, Japan, where he teaches English and Japanese/Western literature. His first novel, With One More Step Ahead, was published in US by BlazeVOX in 2009. His first poetry collection, Responsibilities of the Obsessed, was published in US by BlazeVOX in 2013. His second poetry collection, Silent Whistle-blowers, will be out soon. With Gregory Dunne he also has a book of translated Wakayama tanka in the works.