Miyazawa Kenji: Selections (Poets for the Millennium)

Miyazawa Kenji: Selections (Poets for the Millennium)

Kenji Miyazawa

Language: English

Pages: 270

ISBN: 0520247795

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


The poet Miyazawa Kenji (1896-1933) was an early twentieth-century Japanese modernist who today is known worldwide for his poetry and stories as well as his devotion to Buddhism. Miyazawa Kenji: Selections collects a wide range of his poetry and provides an excellent introduction to his life and work. Miyazawa was a teacher of agriculture by profession and largely unknown as a poet until after his death. Since then his work has increasingly attracted a devoted following, especially among ecologists, Buddhists, and the literary avant-garde. This volume includes poems translated by Gary Snyder, who was the first to translate a substantial body of Miyazawa’s work into English. Hiroaki Sato’s own superb translations, many never before published, demonstrate his deep familiarity with Miyazawa’s poetry. His remarkable introduction considers the poet’s significance and suggests ways for contemporary readers to approach his work. It further places developments in Japanese poetry into a global context during the first decades of the twentieth century. In addition the book features a Foreword by the poet Geoffrey O’Brien and essays by Tanikawa Shuntaro, Yoshimasu Gozo, and Michael O’Brien.

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the Wrst poem expressing Kenji’s concern for Toshiko. In April, when the ceremony to welcome newly enrolled students was held, Kenji was assigned to teach algebra, English, fertilizers, agricultural production, produce, meteorology, chemistry, and soils, in addition to giving practical training in growing rice in paddies. On April 8, the day after the ceremony, he wrote “Spring & Asura.” Some commentators Wnd it signiWcant that April 8 is the Buddha’s birthday. With six teachers in all, including

such as the one given by the Finnish minister, who spoke in Japanese about the need to abandon materialistic culture to build a new agrarian culture. He unthinkingly went there poorly dressed, to Wnd himself the only sartorially deWcient one in the well-dressed crowd. But he was also the only one to have a lively conversation with the diplomat on the subject he had discussed, asking him about things like the position of dialects in the culture to be newly promoted. Tohoku dialects are only too

arabesque ornate letters) With her back glistening dance she does with all her might, or so I say. But if, in truth, you leap about, tortured by bubbles clinging, all that isn’t easy for you. Besides, the sun has set behind the clouds; I got pins and needles, sitting on a stone; 7 4 \ P O E M S the black wood chip at the bottom of water looks, I say, like a caterpillar or a sea cucumber. Besides, Wrst of all, I can’t see your shape. Have you really melted away, I wonder. Or, was all this an

Wlls with dark petals of karma. I have recorded the names of gods, and shiver violently, cold. NIGHT DEW 10/5/1924 GOOD DEVIL PRAYING FOR ABSOLUTION Yeah I know that tomorrow, while it’s still dark, you’ve got to go to town with a horse cart full of charcoal, but past midnight, in such moonlight, you shouldn’t be rustling about, hanging rice bundles up there. Even far oV in a Weld the color of thinned ink, I heard the rustling. S P R I N G & A S U R A ( S E C O N D C O L L E C T I O N )

Wrst edition of Whitman and of Whitman’s English disciple Spring & Asura, published Edward Carpenter, became the Wrst to review in April 1924. it in a poetry magazine (in December) and wrote that it “astonished [him] the most” out of all the books of poems he had received, noting that Kenji “wrote poems with meteorology, mineralogy, botany, and geology.” Two years later Shimpei added: “If there is a genius in Japan’s poetic world today, I would say Miyazawa Kenji is that honored ‘genius.’ Even

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