Al Filreis brought together Bethany Swann, Henry Steinberg, and Caroline Bergvall (who was then completing her residence as a Kelly Writers House Fellow) to talk about four poems Caroline and Al had selected from Sawako Nakayasu’s book Some Girls Walk into the Country They Are From (published in 2020 by Wave Books). The four poems: “Girl A’s Peanuts and Girl D’s Mouthful,” “Gun,” “Girl in a Field of Flowers,” and “Ten Girls in a Bag of Potato Chips.” This last poem — “Ten Girls” — is also presented in the book in a French translation by Geneve Chao and a Japanese translation by Miwako Ozawa. Our recordings were made by Sawako Nakayasu just for PoemTalk, for which we are grateful, and we are also pleased to have recordings of French and Japanese translations by Chao and Ozawa.
Quinn Gruber reviews three Ugly Duckling titles on or in translation: Except for This Unseen Thread by Ra’ad Abdulqadir; Say Translation Is Art by Sawako Nakayasu; and A Mano / By Hand by Nicole Cecilia Delgado. From the review of Abdulqadir: “Abdulqadir shows how the trauma of unending war weaves itself throughout everyday life: ‘we are exiled at home / blindfolded with lights.’ In Kareem’s translation, each word contributes to a strikingly tangible network of images that reveal the unseen thread of violence that undergirds these ordinary scenes: ‘the schools have gone to war’ and shopowners carry ‘their rifles on their knees.’ When ongoing trauma infuses all parts of life, we ask: ‘Even in this safe place / the strange clamor doesn’t stop?’”
Quinn Gruber reviews three Ugly Duckling titles on or in translation.
When Sawako Nakayasu’s book Some Girls Walk into the Country They Are From is acquired, some or perhaps most copies will include a pamphlet-style supplement entitled “Selected Chronology & Notes.” Apparently some copies do not include this extra. Yet the notes can be crucial to understanding individual poems in the book.
Brent Wahl is a visual artist. In the summer of 2018, he completed a major public artwork for the Philadelphia Rail Park. Wahl’s photography, installation, and time-based work has been exhibited in a variety of venues and institutions in the US and Europe.
Sawako Nakayasu was born in Japan and raised in the US; she has also lived in France and China along the way. Her most recent books are The Ants (Les Figues Press, 2014), and Texture Notes (Letter Machine, 2010), and recent translations include The Collected Poems of Sagawa Chika (Canarium Books, 2015) and Tatsumi Hijikata’s Costume en Face (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2015).
Sawako Nakayasu, Donato Mancini, and Gabriel Ojeda-Sague joined Al Filreis to talk about two poems by Sueyuen Juliette Lee. The poems were published in a chapbook titled Perfect Villagers (2006) and later collected in That Gorgeous Feeling (2008). “Dear Margaret Cho” (actually one of two poems of that title) and “Daniel Dae Kim” were among the pieces from the “perfect villagers” series performed by Lee in a reading she gave at the Kelly Writers House in January of 2007. The recording can be found at Lee’s PennSound page.
Coedited by Lisa Samuels and Sawako Nakayasu, A TransPacific Poetics is a unique anthology of essays and experimental poetry by sixteen writers who live in or between different Pacific Rim countries. As the “trans” in the collection’s title suggests, this is a regional trans-Pacific anthology — the first of its kind — that privileges the work of writers defined by the Pacific Ocean.
Coedited by Lisa Samuels and Sawako Nakayasu, A TransPacific Poetics is a unique anthology of essays and experimental poetry by sixteen writers who live in or between different Pacific Rim countries. As the “trans” in the collection’s title suggests, this is a regional trans-Pacific anthology — the first of its kind — that privileges the work of writers defined by the Pacific Ocean. To take a few examples: author and translator Don Mee Choi was born in Korea, moved to the US via Hong Kong, and now lives in Seattle.
Owing to the precise efforts of Hannah Judd, a member of the PennSound staff, Sawako Nakayasu’s PennSound author page now includes topic-by-topic segmentation of her “LA-Lit” session recorded on December 10, 2006. The direct link to the segments is here: