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9/21/08 12:40 pm - PEACE AS A GLOBAL LANGUAGE 7th Annual Conference, Sept. 27-28, 2008 Seisen University

7th Annual Conference

Peace as a Global Language
September 27-28, 2008

Seisen University,

Tokyo, Japan

For further details and information, please see website at:


8/30/08 07:13 pm - "Zen Shaolin"-- (from The New York Times)

Chinese Extravaganza Uses Valley as a Backdrop

Published: August 29, 2008

DENGFENG, China — Midway through the grand spectacle “Zen Shaolin,” a blue-robed monk on a huge outdoor stage crowded with martial-arts performers appears to banish evil spirits rhythmically with his fists in an artistic meditation of motion and fury.

The extravaganza, with a cast of 500, is staged after nightfall in a valley that sits before a huge mountain in central Henan Province, one of the cradles of Chinese civilization.

(for more, click here-- http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/30/arts/dance/30tan.html

6/30/08 12:19 am - WINGSPAN (ANA In-Flight MAG) INTERVIEW w/ PK Editor ALAN BOTSFORD

Click on images below...



Click on article below for readable text--

6/1/08 06:53 pm - a review of Jane Joritz-Nakagawa's 'Aquiline'

AQUILINE by Jane Joritz-Nakagawa. Printed Matter Press, 2007, 65 pp., $12.00 (paper).

Brief review by Alan Botsford

Jane Joritz-Nakagawa is a poet who works, or one should say plays, with (and among) multiple literary and non-literary sources. A long-term resident of Japan, she makes hay with the English language any way she can, and for the many experimental impulses she follows, the results--some dodgy, some very moving—throw interesting light on the relation between poet and language, between (non) comprehensibility and (non) context, between word and flesh.

There’s a fallenness embedded in the life and experience of flesh that she will not shy away from, and which indeed she makes--despite deflections and reflections of all kinds-- into her main subject: The body betrays, is forever a wound, wounding:

My eyes sting, my body

Flat and immobile
I want to crush my head against
The dark sparkly pavement

But hers are takes on much more than the fallen world in all its inglorious Faustian bargains (“stepping over the bodies of the dead” etc.). ‘Sparkly,’ in the above-cited poem for example, offers wit, a word choice-- by eschewing ‘sparkling’-- which has ethical ramifications. Joritz-Nakawaga won’t be seduced by anything less than her own resistances to language (“loss of being price of comedy” indeed—this reviewer is not so sure). The distances traversed, and treasured, between “Her stunned immobile/ Body” and “my stunned immobile body” suggest elusive dramas that move in and out of focus, in and out of view. The unsaid, the unread, the as it were undead all converge in cinematic/real-time actions and axioms (i.e. “our natural language is translation & we cannot get it right”). In sum, these are poems swollen with physicality, half-felt presences, and an intelligence that leaves nothing off its radar. “Who is speaking for us, among the/ colonized clouds…” she asks in her long poem ‘Evil Nature (3)’. Perhaps we can ask instead-- who is speaking for us in (as she writes) “our wounded beauty”? The short answer is, Jane Joritz-Nakagawa does.

6/1/08 06:41 pm - a review of Ayukawa Nobuo's 'America & Other Poems'

AMERICA & OTHER POEMS, by Ayukawa Nobuo. Selected and translated by Shogo Oketani & Leza Lowitz. Kaya Press, 2008, 152 pp., $14.95 (paper).

Brief review by Alan Botsford

For anyone needing an accurate set of coordinates for modern post-war Japanese poetry, Shogo Oketani & Leza Lowitz's deftly written preface to their new translation of Ayukawa Nobuo's 'America & Other Poems' would be a good starting point. With their sure grasp of backstory--biographical, political, social--that informs the poems, the translators do the reader a great service by providing fascinating and comprehensive context (see also Additional Materials & the superb Afterword on translation). But the real pleasures of this book are the poems themselves. Ayukawa, a founding member of the famous Arechi, or Waste Land group, is a poet of immense seriousness and resourcefulness whose Melvillian view of the U.S. is bracing. (Amazingly, he never visited America in his lifetime.) Translation-wise, the idiom these English versions achieve shine with hard-earned integrity and multi-faceted, diamond-like clarity. Many of the poems first appeared in journals in the U.S. and Japan, among them Poetry Kanto. The translations have undergone a metamorphosis, with each successive incarnation-- to this editor's ear and eye-- improving upon the previous one. A case in point is the poem entitled 'Ishmael', first published in Poetry Kanto in 2005 featuring a second stanza as follows:

He, who didn't say at all
from where and why he came,
was the chosen one.
Ishmael, who wandered barefoot
strongly believing in the heritage of the human soul,
he was the chosen one.

In the 2008 version, the stanza is divided in two:

There's something decent about this man
who never said a word
about where he came from
or why.

There's something decent about
this Ishmael
who wandered barefoot,
believing only in the transmission
of the human soul.

The changes speak for themselves. A breakthrough has occured. And these stanzas are only one of a multitude of luminous examples among the poems. This writer finds the multiple renderings that a good translation undergoes sometimes mesmerizing. William I. Elliott and Kawamura Kazuo—‘godfathers’ of poetry translation in Japan--offer proof when comparing, say, one of their many Tanikawa poems translated years ago with the same poem revised years later. Often the difference can be a real study of honing one's craft. Oketani & Lowitz’s 'America & Other Poems' by Ayukawa Nobuo displays a similar dedication to and excellence in craft.

5/27/08 09:33 am - Opera Meets Animation to Tell a Chinese Tale (NY Times)


Published: May 26, 2008

CHARLESTON, S.C. — The opening scene is a vast cartoon, projected on a scrim, with viewers zooming past clouds and mountain peaks to an egg, which falls, bursts and gives birth to Monkey. The scrim goes up, and the cartoon dissolves into a stage full of flipping acrobats, a monkey tribe flying from bamboo pole to bamboo pole. The score pulsates with an electronic beat.

It’s not every opera that manages to fit in contortionists: “Monkey: Journey to the West” combines Eastern and Western traditions, animation and live action.
So begins “Monkey: Journey to the West,” a newfangled sort of opera that is making its American debut here at the Spoleto Festival U.S.A. Based on an old Chinese tale, it traces the Monkey King’s search for wisdom and immortality with singing, acrobatics, martial arts and cartoon segments. It is circus spectacle striving to become art — or maybe art infused with spectacle.

The show was conceived by the Chinese actor and director Chen Shi-Zheng, with music provided by Damon Albarn, the lead singer of the British pop band Blur, and design, animation and costumes by Jamie Hewlett, who collaborated with Mr. Albarn on the popular animated “cartoon band” Gorillaz.

(to read more:

5/16/08 11:51 am - S.W.E.T. Poetry Event (Shibuya): Contemporary Poetry in Japan and Beyond

May 25 - Contemporary Poetry in Japan and Beyond


Date: May 25, 2008 (Sun.)
Time: 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Attendance fee: 2,000 yen
For more information, contact SWET Events
Place: Tomigaya Chokai Kaikan
Shibuya Tomigaya Koreisha Center
2-27-12 Tomigaya, Shibuya-ku

Accessible on foot from Chiyoda or Odakyu line Yoyogi Hachiman/Yoyogi Koen stations or by bus from Shibuya (#67-68 Keio buses: Sasazuka-yuki); minimum taxi fare from Shibuya station.

Detailed instructions from Yoyogi Koen station:
Turn left immediately after exiting station and walk under the large bridge supporting Yamate-dori; take first left. You will still be under the bridge. Walk straight down the shopping street, passing a 7-Eleven convenience store on the corner. A block down is a large avenue, Inokashira-dori. Cross the street at the crosswalk, and in front of the Levain natural foods bakery, and take the diagonal side street and continue walking; at the fork in the road go left and continue walking up the hill. Near the top, on your left, is Tokai University’s Tomigaya Campus. Take the first left after the campus, then the second right. The Shibuya Tomigaya Koreisha Center will be a block down on your left.

This event is for anyone with an interest in, or curiosity about, reading and writing poems, with a focus on the Japan context. Alan, Jane and John will talk about trends in poetry, their reasons for writing, and related issues. They will present samples of their own work and the work of other poets who interest and have influenced them. The presenters will also answer questions from the audience about writing, reading or publishing poems. Everyone is welcome to join in the discussion.

JANE JORITZ-NAKAGAWA’s books of poetry are Skin Museum (2006; see review in Metropolis), AQUILINE (2007; see review in Her Circle Ezine at Myspace) and EXHIBIT C (forthcoming in 2008). Jane is a long-time resident of Japan who teaches poetry, educational psychology, gender studies, and other subjects as Associate Professor at Aichi University of Education. She has published over one hundred poems in literary journals and anthologies. Her degrees are in both literature (poetry writing specialization) and linguistics. She was the coordinator of the First Annual Japan Writers Conference.

JOHN GRIBBLE’s poems have appeared in Runes, Margie, The Mid-America Poetry Review, Pearl, and other publications in the US, UK, and Japan. He is from Southern California, where he made his living in music for twenty-five years as a guitar teacher, performer, and in music therapy. A Tokyo resident since 1993, he teaches English and writing at two universities and for a government agency. He has helped organize the Tokyo Writers Group for a number of years. His MFA is from Warren Wilson College and he is a Pushcart Prize nominee. His collection of poems, Another Wrong Fedora, is available from Printed Matter Press and other booksellers.

ALAN BOTSFORD SAITOH, co-editor of Poetry Kanto—Japan’s leading annual bilingual, bicultural poetry magazine publishing “poetry that navigates the divide of ocean and language"—is working to contribute toward a more active, energetic role for Japan as a poetry capital East, West and beyond. Author of two books of poetry, he has a book of essays, Walt Whitman of Cosmic Folklore, forthcoming from Hokuseido Press in 2008. He is Associate Professor of American Literature at Kanto Gakuin University in Yokohama.

5/13/08 02:58 pm - Kudo Naoko poetry reading: 5/24工藤直子さんのリーディング

Celebrated poet and writer Kudo Naoko (her poems appear in translation in Poetry Kanto 2007)
will be reading her poetry on May 24th at KGU's Media Center in Kannai, Yokohama. All are welcome,
while seats still available. Contact the Media Center. See details below, and at website:

関東学院大学 春学期公開講座





主催:関東学院大学 生涯学習センター

5/24(土) 14:00~15:30  
一般1,000円 学生500円(教材費込み)



「お帰りなさい 工藤直子さん!」
今回のポエトリ・リーディングは、詩人であり童話作家の工藤直子さんです。本学の文学部を母体とした詩のセミナー「関東ポエトリ・セミナー」に、工藤さんを何度かお招きして詩を朗読していただきました。10年ぶりにポエトリ・リーディングにおいでくださることになりましたので、私たちとしましては、「お帰りなさい 工藤直子さん!」というごあいさつがぴったりです。


開館時間 平 日:10:00~20:00

- 工藤直子 詩の朗読会 -

第4回 ポエトリ・リーディング



4/2/08 12:40 pm - Words Take Wing: Adapting Old Tales for New Audiences (upcoming Tokyo event)

(via japanartsandletterscalendar)

Words Take Wing: Adapting Old Tales for New Audiences

with Beauty and the Beast Storytellers, Martha Hamilton and Mitch Weiss

Time: Saturday, April 12, 2008 6:30 - 8:00 pm

Place: Tokyo Women's Plaza, Conference Room 1

5-53-67 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

(by the Children's Castle and United Nations University).

For a map see www.scbwi.jp/map.htm

Fee: SCBWI Members 1,000 yen; nonmembers 1,500 yen

This event will be in English.

Mitch Weiss and Martha Hamilton will tell a few stories and explain how they take a folktale and bring it to life for todayfs audiences. They will demonstrate the process they use to help tellers and writers find their own voices by having participants do an exercise called "Playing With the Story." In addition, they will show the brief DVD that accompanies their book Children Tell Stories: Teaching and Using Storytelling in the Classroom.

Martha Hamilton and Mitch Weiss are a husband and wife team who have been telling stories together as 'Beauty & the Beast Storytellers' since 1980. As a result of their extensive experience in teaching students of all ages to tell stories, they have produced several award winning books and recordings including Children Tell Stories: Teaching and Using Storytelling in the Classroom. Their collections of world folktales for students to tell include How and Why Stories, Scared Witless, Noodlehead Stories, Stories in My Pocket, and Through the Grapevine. In the past few years they have also retold several folktales in picture book format including Priceless Gifts, The Ghost Catcher, and The Hidden Feast. Mitch and Martha live in Ithaca, New York, and have traveled the world sharing their passion for storytelling. For more information, see their website: www.beautyandthebeaststorytellers.com

www.scbwi.jp info@scbwi.jp
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