Flux, the new collection of poems by Japan-based poet Jane Joritz-Nakagawa, reveals a myriad of fluctuations and transitions in style and theme. From the poet’s diverse choice of form to her penetrating eye on the collection’s wide range of subject matter, the poems here reveal the constant change in the stream of time. Particularly effective are Joritz-Nakagawa’s prose poems. These stream-of-conscience social commentaries condense one women’s lifetime of sexual experiences to their very essence, with Joritz-Nakagawa constantly crossing the boundary between prose and poetry. Her poems reference modern racial tensions and the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, while quoting the disparate words of the singer Morrissey and Albert Einstein, in a shifting perspective of form and fancy.
Another strength in her work is how Joritz-Nakagawa populates this collection with people caught on the edges of society. From “walking my imaginary/ dog pretending to make/ dinner” to “i stroke the hair in mind/ since it was the only thing that could/ console me,” an overwhelming sense of individuals reaching out to connect pervades this collection. Although these connections are found and inevitably lost, Joritz-Nakagawa’s wry humor rises above the loneliness. I was left looking out the window, wondering at the passage of eternity.