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Archive for 2012

Kaimana Review for Adele Ne Jame’s The South Wind

December 25, 2012


(from KAIMANA 2012, Paul Nelson, editor.

Hawai’i Literary Arts Council)

by Alan Botsford, editor of Poetry Kanto and author of Walt Whitman of Cosmic Folklore

In an evidence-based world, we are forever trying to solve the puzzle of the play of appearances and trying to fit the pieces into place. For the poet, however, the pieces won’t fit, the puzzle will never be solved. Out of depths Orpheus-like and at the borders Janus-faced, Adele Ne Jame travels as exile and maker in an exploratory trajectory between seen and unseen, alive to the always-changing pathways towards the sayable. In The South Wind, a new collection of graceful, exquisitely-wrought poems, she navigates her way through the winds of loss, violence, and the ravages of history–via lament and mourning–towards the possibilities of new life. Each poem marks a destination reached that is hard-won, hard-earned, composed of the poet’s alchemic power, emotional steadiness, and spiritual nimbleness. And each destination marks a recovery, however provisional, through poetic remembrance and verbal music, of what time and war have undone.

In the poem “The World is a Wedding,” for example, Ne Jame in three steely-eyed, deft stanzas captures the dynamics of her late parents’ domestic life in New Jersey. The scene she depicts, while evoking their Lebanese origins, is an extended family’s meal together as they recount stories of exotic travels. In the final stanza, with the visiting whirlwind of uncles and cousins now departed from the house, Ne Jame offers this glimpse:

When the house is empty

Mother sits alone

in front of the T.V. watching

an old movie, the hero smoking a cigarette.

Father’s already asleep in the small room

off the kitchen, having given himself up

to the next small loss, to King’s Display

where in a shabby darkroom on West 45th Street

he will develop more prints

for the movies, ten-foot blowups of stars,

heroes on the marquee, the crowd passing by.

In the poem, Ne Jame’s progenitors remain real and hauntingly present to her. Indeed the archetypal Father will be forever among the “ten-foot blowups of stars,/ heroes on the marquee.” Yet the poem’s coup de grace occurs with the implication that the poet herself joins “the crowd passing by” in order to escape the Father’s shadow (History by any other name), an escape which, as Abraham Lincoln famously said, is impossible. If, then, the poet meets the requirements of a historical reality all too ready and willing to assert its control over the poetic imagination, it is a trade-off the poet consciously makes. Being bound thus to memory also frees up energy available to her as poet and is a function of the way she chooses to relate to the world.

You could say she harnesses the elemental wind to her poetic craft, intending the energies of a poem to be felt for what they are—modes or nodes of realization, not only of representation. When bringing such awareness into language, the poet as maker almost has to step aside, for a very clear force is writing through her, one that would declare: I have mastered the art of leaving, I perceive the forms and change them. The hugeness of the heart and vision, in other words, is mindfulness in action. We can learn much from this poet. She touches the nerve of our humanity and looses a freedom our hearts cry out for. We can, her poems remind us, vitally wake up to the voice we hear at dawn.

Poetry Pacific: new poetry e-zine

December 24, 2012


A new poetry e-zine, Poetry Pacific, has been launched recently

in Vancouver, Canada by poet and editor Changming Yuan. He

has sent the following message:

we have just started our own literary e.zine called Poetry Pacific. it has an extremely humble start, but we are committed to expanding it into a serious publishing enterprise in the near future. at very least, it will last longer than most other small magazines, since ours is a 2-generation publication. for a quick view, here is the link:: would you please spread the word: all your contributors and readers are welcome to send their poems to us at

Do have a look at the new Poetry Pacific and consider sending

poems in 2013.

…poems by a.b. here

poetry site Nonforgotten

December 5, 2012


The poetry site:  Nonforgotten 

Editor Wayne Pounds, an American poet, author and professor

based in Tokyo, founded this internet poetry mag/blog earlier

this year and has attracted quite a number of contributors, all

well worth reading. In his words, “Nonforgotten” is

“A site dedicated to voices from the unforgotten dead.

Forgotten in their day, perhaps, silenced, oppressed, or

just unknown (the common fate), here the dead speak

in the first person to tell their stories.”



(Visit the site for those interested in sending submissions.)


Pounds’ newest book, “The Fate of Bones: Adventures

in Family History,” was twenty years in the making and

is now available on Amazon. Click here for more information

and purchase.

Poetry in Osaka: Nov. 17, 2012

November 13, 2012


[Below is an announcement forwarded by JIPS for their

upcoming poetry reading at Osaka University on Nov. 17, 2012.]


Japan International Poetry Society

Meeting Saturday November 17, 2012: 1:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M.

Osaka University, Toyonaka Campus

Directions in English:

Gengo Bunka Kenkyu ka Building 7, large meeting room on the 2nd floor:

Admission: free Pre-registration unnecessary

Contact:  Trane DeVore, Osaka University

email /

Come join us for a friendly poetry reading and discussion. Open to the public.

All are welcome. Languages used will be English and Japanese.  

Information about the scheduled speakers / readers:

Yoko DANNO is the author of several books and chapbooks of English poetry published in Japan and the USA. A collaborative work, a sleeping tiger dreams of manhattan: poetry, photographs and music by Danno, James C. Hopkins & Bernard Stoltz, translated from English, will be published (Mansards, Latvia) in September, 2012. Her English translation of “Songs and Stories of the Kojiki” was published by Ahadada Books (Toronto/Tokyo, 2008).

Trane DeVORE’s work has appeared in Mirage, Crowd, First Intensity, Chain, Salt Hill, 26, The Electronic Poetry Review, Poetry Nippon, and many other venues. He has published two books of poetry  “series/mnemonic” (1999) and “Dust Habit” (2005)  both with Avec Books. He currently lives in Osaka and teaches at Osaka University.

Loren GOODMAN is Associate Professor of Creative Writing and English Literature at Yonsei University/Underwood International College in Seoul, South Korea and Pacific Correspondent for The Best American Poetry Web Blog. He won a Yale Series of Younger Poets Award, selected by W. S. Merwin, for his poetry book “Famous Americans,” and is also the author of the poetry chapbooks “Suppository Writing” and “New Products.”

Jane JORITZ-NAKAGAWA is the author of seven volumes of poetry, most recently “Invisible City” (White Sky Ebooks, USA). Other 2012 publications include two chapbooks with quarter after press (USA), “flux of measure” and “season of flux,” and a poetry broadside, “blank notes,” with Country Valley Press (USA). She currently divides her time between Shizuoka and Nagano prefectures.

Kiyoko OGAWA is a poet, translator and essayist, writing monthly essays on world literature for “Saku.” She has published five English and three Japanese books of poetry, as well as an academic monograph on T.S.Eliot. Her work has been included in anthologies and journals such as “other side river,” “Sunrise from Blue Thunder,” “Prairie Schooner,” and others.

Eric SELLAND’s new poetry chapbook is “Still Lifes.” Translations of poems by Takagai Hiroya and Sekiguchi Ryoko appear in the current issue of “Big Bridge,” and his translation of Wago Ryoichi will appear in a forthcoming issue of “ElevenEleven.”

Goro TAKANO was born in the city of Hiroshima, and is assistant professor in the Faculty of Medicine at Saga University, where he teaches English and Japanese literature. He obtained his M.A. from the University of Tokyo (American Literature), and his Ph.D. from the University of Hawaii at Manoa (English/Creative Writing). His first novel, “With One More Step Ahead,” was published in by BlazeVOX (USA) in 2009.

Atsusuke TANAKA works as a high school mathematics teacher in his hometown, Kyoto. In 1991, the prominent poet Makoto Oka identified him in the journal “Yuriika” as a major poetic voice of his generation. Tanaka has published seven volumes of poetry in Japanese, including an ongoing experimental series of poems called “The Wasteless Land” which draws inspiration and quotes from a wide array of sources ranging from pop music to classical Western and Japanese literature.

for 2013 events, please contact Jane Joritz-Nakagawa: janenakagawa at yahoo dot com

Poetry Kanto Wikipedia

November 17, 2012


Poetry Kanto (Wikipedia)

Poetry Kanto devotes itself to introducing Japanese poets and English-speaking poets to a wide audience at home in Japan and abroad. It aims to promote dialogue between Japan and the English-speaking world. Each issue features an in-depth look at poets from both sides of the cultural divide, setting up a blend of cultures and traditions unique among literary publications. The hope is for readers to step outside their limited cultural spheres and engage in cross-cultural dialogue for a rebirth at the crossroads of culture and imagination.

In a recent interview, editor Alan Botsford said, “I feel very fortunate… to play a role in a cross-cultural mission as wall as literary exploration. I think cultural identity and that struggle, for many people across the globe, the struggle of cultural identity per se and also between cultures, speaks to what Poetry Kanto tries to offer. As editor, I envision Poetry Kanto as a transformative space where poetry’s insights are made available for, and can engage the entire range of, cultures, not just getting into the cultural mix but adding to it, enriching it, fermenting it beyond our ideas of Japaneseness and Americanness.”


Poetry Kanto

Poetry Kanto ポエトリ関東 is a Japan-based, English and Japanese bilingual poetry print journal founded and originally edited by award-winning translator William I. Elliott and internationally acclaimed poet Shuntarō Tanikawa. The annual journal, currently edited by Alan Botsford, is published by the Kant…

Hiyoshi Poetry Festival Nov. 8, Keio University

November 5, 2012

1350606208 211x300 Hiyoshi Poetry Festival Nov. 8, Keio University

The Sixth Annual Hiyoshi Poetry Festival, held at Keio University’s

Hiyoshi campus, is upcoming on November 8. Featured poet-readers

include’s this year’s Poetry Kanto contributor Takako Arai, a

wonderful poet, along with acclaimed poets Nomura Kiwao and

Tanaka Yosuke, and award-winning American translator and 

Poetry Kanto contributor Jeffrey Angles.

For schedule details and further information, click here.

Japan Writers Conference 2012, Kyoto

November 4, 2012


[This year's Japan Writers Conference is scheduled for November

10 and 11, 2012 at Doshisha Women's University in Kyoto, Japan.

Information below, from the JWC website.]

The 6th Annual Japan Writers Conference, 2012

The Sixth Annual Japan Writers Conference will be in Kyoto this year at the Iwadegawa campus of Doshisha Women’s University.

See the Doshisha Women’s University homepage here.

This is the second time we’ve been there and it is a beautiful place. The dates are November 10 and 11, 2012.

As always, there will be a lot to learn, a lot to talk about, and a lot to take home. Do you wonder what can Facebook and other social media can do for your writing career? Two presentations will look at this issue, along with another on getting a film option for your novel. There will be  presentations on writing for children and young adults, along with a SCBWI gathering. Writing about the military, about Japan, sessions on traditional Japanese form and genre, editing, translation, and two publishing markets actively seeking your work are all part of the program, too. Presenters and participants will come from all over Japan, as well as from Canada, Australia, and Hong Kong. As in the past, this will be this will be a full and lively weekend.

For full details, click here.

Poetry Kanto 2012 update

September 9, 2012


PK 2012 is now at the printers. It should be ready in the fall,

by mid-November.

Thanks to all those who submitted poems this year, and to the

wonderful contributors. Here’s the line-up for PK’s 28th issue:


Arai Takako

    (trans. Jeffrey Angles)

Ito Hiromi

    (trans. Jeffrey Angles)

Yoko Danno

Adele Ne Jame

Mark Murphy

Paula Bohince

Peggy Aylsworth

Ann Fisher-Wirth

    (trans. Yoko Motoyoshi)

on translating Kenji Miyazawa’s “Ame ni mo makezu”

August 15, 2012


Here is an excerpt of a recent  Q & A from “Tomo Anthology blog

featuring two translators, David Sulz and Hart Larrabee, on their

respective translations of the classic Miyazawa poem “Ame ni mo

makezu”, about which this blog posted previously:

“What do you particularly like about this poem?

David Sulz: I love the human vs. nature struggle. It is not about defeating nature, or escaping into your basement/car/office/mall, or coming up with technology make yourself immune to nature. It’s about accepting nature, dealing with nature on its own turf,  and becoming mentally strong enough to not only endure but also enjoy it. Maybe this poem has influenced me embrace winter in one of the coldest winter cities on earth, Edmonton, where walking to work in -40 degrees or playing hockey outdoors or cross-country skiing is even more satisfying an achievement than in warmer climes.

I also like the idea that one can be both humble and strong at the same time. Humility isn’t weakness and strength isn’t aggression. A satisfied and good person doesn’t have to be ostentatious with big houses and fancy meals. Courage also comes from small acts that seem easy on paper but are difficult in real-life such as convincing people to stop quarrelling or helping someone with a heavy load when lots of other people are watching.

Finally, I appreciate the last line—“this is my goal, the person I strive to become.” Miyazawa is not telling anyone else how to act or be except by his own example—which is very Buddhist, I think. He is saying, here’s what I think it takes to be human, I’m going to try to achieve it, you can try too if you’d like but you don’t have to.

Hart Larrabee: On its own, I like it as a spare and deeply personal meditation on right living. As a phenomenon, I am fascinated by the way it has been employed post-3/11 to convey a kind of stoic resolve in the face of tragedy. I can’t help but wonder if Satoh’s use of the poem on Nihongo de asobo—recitations of the poem in regional dialects from around Japan are one of my favorite parts of the show—helped lay the groundwork for the poem’s resurgence.”

To read the entire interview, and see both their translations, click here.

Bob Dylan & Kenji Miyazawa on rain (雨ニモマケズ)

August 13, 2012


Here’s Bob Dylan’s classic 1964 “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall”, 

and the lyrics–


“A Hard Rain’s a – Gonna Fall”


“Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son?

And where have you been my darling young one?”


“I’ve stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains

I’ve walked and I’ve crawled on six crooked highways

I’ve stepped in the middle of seven sad forests

I’ve been out in front of a dozen dead oceans”


“I’ve been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard

And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard

It’s a hard rain a-gonna fall”

“Oh, what did you see, my blue eyed son?

And what did you see, my darling young one?”


“I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it

I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it

I saw a black branch with blood that kept drippin’

I saw a room full of men with their hammers a-bleedin’”


“I saw a white ladder all covered with water

I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken

I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children

And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, and it’s a hard It’s a hard rain a-gonna fall”


“And what did you hear, my blue-eyed son?

And what did you hear, my darling young one?”


“I heard the sound of a thunder, it roared out a warnin’

I heard the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world

I heard one hundred drummers whose hands were a-blazin’

I heard ten thousand whisperin’ and nobody listenin’”


“I heard one person starve, I heard many people laughin’

Heard the song of a poet who died in the gutter

I heard the sound of a clown who cried in the alley

And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard

It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall”


“Oh, what did you meet my blue-eyed son?

And who did you meet, my darling young one?”


“I met a young child beside a dead pony

I met a white man who walked a black dog

I met a young woman whose body was burning

I met a young girl, she gave me a rainbow”


“I met one man who was wounded in love

I met another man who was wounded in hatred

And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard

It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall”


“And what’ll you do now, my blue-eyed son?

And what’ll you do now, my darling young one?”


“I’m a-goin’ back out ‘fore the rain starts a-fallin’

I’ll walk to the depths of the deepest dark forest

Where the people are many and their hands are all empty

Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters”


“Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison

And the executioner’s face is always well hidden

Where hunger is ugly, where the souls are forgotten

Where black is the color, where none is the number”


“And I’ll tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it

And reflect from the mountain so all souls can see it

And I’ll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin’

But I’ll know my song well before I start singin’

And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, and it’s a hard

It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall”



And here’s Kenji Miyazawa‘s classic 1933 “Be Not Defeated By the Rain”

(Ame ni mo Makezu), (a poem “found posthumously in a small

black notebook in one of the poet’s trunks”), with the lyrics in the

original Katakana and English–


































(English translation, from Wikipedia)


not losing to the rain

not losing to the wind

not losing to the snow nor to summer’s heat

with a strong body

unfettered by desire

never losing temper

always quietly smiling

every day four bowls of brown rice

miso and some vegetables to eat

in everything

count yourself last and put others before you

watching and listening, and understanding

and never forgetting

in the shade of the woods of the pines of the fields

being in a little thatched hut

if there is a sick child to the east

going and nursing over them

if there is a tired mother to the west

going and shouldering her sheaf of rice

if there is someone near death to the south

going and saying there’s no need to be afraid

if there is a quarrel or a lawsuit to the north

telling them to leave off with such waste

when there’s drought, shedding tears of sympathy

when the summer’s cold, wandering upset

called a nobody by everyone

without being praised

without being blamed

such a person

I want to become