Tuesday, July 1, 2008

For the Fighting Spirit of the Walnut

I was lucky enough to read Takashi Hiraide's For the Fighting Spirit of the Walnut in manuscript form a couple of months ago. It's a revelation in how to write small prose poems in beautiful language that interconnects into a larger poem with concrete themes that burst out into grander themes when read together. There's the regular commuter rails, minute observations of insect life, the wonder of fruit, rain falling into larger pools of water, the wonder of the universe encapsulated in each microcosm of living. A small bit of the book:

# 95
The battle of poetic forms, like a rag tossed on the pavement, is wet with recently spilled stars. What passes above it is a mechanism simply for passing by, a glance to be ignored. The formulaic camp remains blind to this section where each scenery emerges, but wrapped inside an old rallying call is rather a single section of acropathy patients eager to capsize the encircling cobblestones through the freedom of poetic form. They close their small eyes to the fact that a form of free verse is already a form at the disposal of political power, and that a rag waves no differently from a nation's flag.

Oh, and please admire the beautiful bilingual book design: recto English translation (trans. by Sawako Nakayasu), verso Japanese original.

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