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Philip Rowland’s “before music”

February 15, 2013



Philip Rowland, editor in Tokyo of NOON: journal of the short poem,

has recently published a collection of haiku, and we are here spreading

the word to interested readers and affeciannados of haiku. He reports

that he has hopes of getting the journal up and running again, in

some form, for 2013.


Here’s a link to order:


and some comments about his work below:


“Philip Rowland’s poems build meaning from sound with a subtle and subliminal grace, bringing new surprises and joy with each reading. Zukofsky and Corman (Rowland is clearly in that lineage) would admire his faithfulness to every word, his clean lines, and his discreet narrative of love and family. He strikes home with the immediacy and absolute commitment of Hosai and Ippekiro. To me, before music marks a rediscovery of haiku for the English-speaking world that should prove as invigorating as the modernist one of a century ago.”


John Martone


Philip Rowland’s before music could just as well be titled before mind. That’s where his poems take me — to the charged cusp of cognition. It happens in a flash but the words reverberate long on the page in concentric circles of verbal electricity.


what’s left of the light the music absorbs

You can’t step in the same Rowland poem twice.


- Joseph Massey

Call for submissions, Poetry Kanto 2013

February 14, 2013


Poetry Kanto is currently open to reading submissions

for its 2013 issue. The reading period will continue through

June. The new issue will be published digitally–its first–in

the Fall. For further details, please see the ‘Submit’ page on

the recently relaunched Poetry Kanto website.


update on Poetry Kanto

February 2, 2013


The Poetry Kanto website was built and has been maintained since 2005,  featuring sample poems from each issue up until 2009. We are currently rebuilding and upgrading the website and will relaunch it soon. Though the print publication of Poetry Kanto has ended due to university budgetary constraints, the aim of the new website is not only to archive the legacy of Poetry Kanto itself but also, potentially, to bring together information on the Kanto Poetry Center and poetry-related research and translation from Japan and around the world. We hope readers of this blog will visit the new website when it is finally up and running in the near future.

Understanding Etheridge Knight, by Michael S. Collins

January 31, 2013


Michael Collins, a poet and scholar who appeared in Poetry Kanto 2007, has written a new book on Etheridge Knight, a major poet 2007, has written a new book on Etheridge Knight, a major poet for the most part off the radar screen of contemporary poetry readers. This new book by Collins, which has been well received, should help correct that situation. Below are details from the University of South Carolina Press website.


Understanding Etheridge Knight 

Michael S. Collins

7066 Understanding Etheridge Knight, by Michael S. Collins


An in-depth look at the complex life and works of an African American poet

Understanding Etheridge Knight introduces readers to a major—but understudied—American poet. Etheridge Knight (1931–1991) survived a shrapnel wound suffered during military service in Korea, as well as a drug addiction that led to an eight-year prison sentence, to publish five volumes of poetry and a small cache of powerful prose. His status in the front ranks of American poets and thinkers on poetry was acknowledged in 1984, when he won the Shelley Memorial Award, which had previously gone, as an acknowledgement of “genius and need,” to E. E. Cummings, Gwendolyn Brooks, and W. S. Merwin.

In this first book-length study of Knight and his complete body of work, Michael Collins examines the poetry of a complex literary figure who, following imprisonment, transformed his life to establish himself as a charismatic voice in American poetry and an accomplished teacher at institutions such as the University of Hartford, Lincoln University, and his own Free Peoples Poetry Workshops.

Beginning with a concise biography of Knight, Collins explores Knight’s volumes of poetry including Poems from Prison, Black Voices from Prison, Born of a Woman, and The Essential Etheridge Knight. Understanding Etheridge Knight brings attention to a crucial era in African American and American poetry and to the literature of the incarcerated while reflecting on the life and work of an original voice in American poetry.

Michael Collins is an associate professor of English at Texas A&M University. He has published essays and creative works in PMLA, Modern Philology, Michigan Quarterly Review, Callaloo, Parnassus: Poetry in Review, The Best American Poetry 2003, and elsewhere.

“Understanding Etheridge Knight is a superb venture in literary criticism and intellectual biography. Michael Collins brings erudition, intelligence, shrewdness, and deftness of expression to this study of a significant if little-known American poet.”—Arnold Rampersad, Stanford University

Hirsohima Suite, by William Heyen

January 8, 2013


The first four lyrics of William Heyen’s Hirsohima Suite,

interesting as they are as they introduce two of the book’s

main characters, are just asymmetrical purchase, but then,

as he has written elsewhere, “the moment of the poem

arrives,” & it arrives here in waves of 15-line meditative

cerebrations that refract, as art must, “the agonies [that]

encandle us.”

Here they are, then: Mrs. Aoyama who, at Point Zero,

has less than no time to realize anything of what happens

when Little Boy detonates; & heroic Mr. Tanimoto who

ferries the living dead toward green across Hiroshima’s

Ota River. To the poet, too, a fish appears–a blunt-headed

witness creature as aura-drenched as any in our literature

–& a bamboo pole with multitudinious eyes, & a stow-

away mouse. & you. & Heyen’s often double-negative

& triple-negative compromised song as the Enola Gay,

doesn’t it never not, accomplishes its design. Its engines

keep revving in the radiated mnemonic memorial water

that passes through the fish’s gills. “Even the Buddha’s

dilemma/ is how not to drown in it as he sips moon

from that water.”

Hasn’t it never not ever become increasingly unclear

–this question flashing among questions of aesthetics–

after his end-of-nature books Pterodactyl Rose &

The Rope & after his obsessive Erika: Poems of the 

Holocaust, Ribbons: The Gulf War, Crazy Horse in

Stillness, Shoah Train, A Poetics of Hiroshima, The

Angel Voices, The Football Corporations & other

of his exiles & reconciliations–that Heyen has become

the most substantial poet of his American generation?

I invite you to allow this remarkable Hiroshima Suite

–which seems to have heard all at once in one non-

linear audition–to intone for you until, within the

“transluminous horror” of August 6, 1945, we are

never not whole again but are, at the same time, in

Robert Frost’s phrases, “beyond confusion.”

 – Edwina Seaver

                                                Rome/ 2012

HS 201x300 Hirsohima Suite, by William Heyen

For more details about the book, and the author, visit Nine Points,

the  publisher’s site, or Amazon.

* This blogger would like to invite serious translators interested in

translating Hiroshima Suite into Japanese to contact me, with

particulars, at

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…