Aug 6, 2006

A blue mood for poetry

POEMS OF DAYS PAST / ARISHI HI NO UTA, by Nakahara Chuya, translations by Ry Beville. The American Book Company, 2005, 81 pp., $19.99 (paper). RIGHT EYE IN TWILIGHT / MIGI-ME NO BYAKUYA, by Ban’ya Natsuishi, translations by Ban’ya Natsuishi & Jack Galmitz. Wasteland ...

Jul 2, 2006

Journeys across turbulent waters

MAD ABOUT THE MEKONG: Exploration and Empire in South-East Asia, by John Keay. HarperPerennial, 2006, 294 pp., £8.99 (paper). The long-lasting conflict in Vietnam made the name of the Mekong familiar to people in other countries, but to those who live along its banks ...

May 7, 2006

Following the great haiku poet on the road

BASHO’S JOURNEY: The Literary Prose of Matsuo Basho, translated with an introduction by David Landis Barnhill. State University of New York Press, 2005, 191 pp., $19.95 (paper). The great haiku poet Matsuo Basho (1644-1694) was first represented to the West just over a century ...

Mar 7, 2006

Shades of green in search for homecoming gift

“There is a green hill far away, without a city wall,” goes the Easter hymn, originally composed for children. The Easter holiday, which one is hardly aware of in Japan, figured in one of my trips back to the green hills of Ireland’s north ...

Jan 31, 2006

Three is the magic number for haiku and Japan

“The easiest to hurt are these three: The eye, the elbow and the knee.” In his book, “The Wasp in the Mug”, the bilingual Irish poet Gabriel Rosenstock adds rhyme to this English version of an Irish proverb, which makes it almost an epigram. ...

| Jan 1, 2006

A poetic Irish conversation

SIXTY INSTANT MESSAGES TO TOM MOORE by Paul Muldoon, Illinois: Modern Haiku Press, 2005, 32 pp., 20 dollars (paper). HARBOUR LIGHTS by Derek Mahon, Ireland: Gallery Press, 2005, 78 pp., 11.50 dollars (paper). Unlike the visual arts, which were transmitted to the West quite ...

| Dec 4, 2005

Complexity drawn from emptiness

THE ANCIENT CAPITAL OF IMAGES by John Mateer. Fremantle, Australia: Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 2005, 61 pp., A$22.95 (paper). The poet John Mateer has published previously in South Africa, where he comes from, Australia, where he now lives, and Indonesia, which he has traveled ...

| Sep 25, 2005

Women of poetic substance

PATHWAYS, by Edith Shiffert, New York: White Pine Press, 2005, 115 pp., $14 (paper). A WOMAN’S LIFE, by Harue Aoki, Tokyo: Shichigatsudo, 2004, 120 pp., 1,200 yen (paper). Reviewed by DAVID BURLEIGH These two poetry collections — one by an American living in Japan, ...

| Jul 24, 2005

Weaving together tales of exotic trade

THE SILK ROAD: Two Thousand Years in the Heart of Asia, by Frances Wood. University of California Press, 2004, 270 pp., $19.95 (paper). “The Silk Road, or Roads,” begins Frances Wood in this fascinating book, have only been known this way since the late ...