[N.B. Yoko Danno’s Songs and Stories of the Kojiki is the first English translation to capture the full sweep & ferocity of the founding Japanese epic. The work as such was originally published by Ahadada Books in 2008 & has just been reissued by Red Moon Press in Winchester, VA. Born, raised & educated in Japan, Danno has been writing solely in English for almost forty years. She continues to live & work in Kobe.]
AUTHOR'S NOTE. With a small Saltonstall poetry grant, I visited Auschwitz in 2004-05 during all the seasons. I had to get the sense of the place on my skin and know at least that reality as it was felt by the inmates. It was hard to find a way into the overwhelming “pity and terror” of the Auschwitz tragedy, and many poems took on a surreal cast. I welcomed the variety of approaches that presented themselves. Some poems, like “Birken, Place of Birches” and “The Carp Feeders,” are based on where and when events occurred.
[On September 23rd 43 students of the teacher's college in Ayotzinapa, in the state of Guerrero, Mexico, were detained by the police on the way to a protest, and handed over to a local drug cartel. They were tortured and killed, their bodies dismembered, dumped in a pit and incinerated. Mexico has been in turmoil since.
David Huerta is one of Mexico's most important poets. This poem is his reaction. (M.W.)]
[The death of James Koller in December brought with it the memory of his vigorous presence in the years we knew him — at first in Santa Fe, New Mexico, during the initial heady days of ethnopoetics & later with the Franco Beltrametti circle in Switzerland & in his own home & hideaway in the woods of Maine.