Books | POETRY MIGNETTE

Cafe's tempting literary brew

by Taylor Mignon

Cafe Independent, a “rattle-bag collection of poetry, art, pearls of prose . . . ,” is produced by Oliver Kinghorn and Shannon Smith in Kyoto.

Cafe quotes Henry Miller’s “Keep on writing! Keep on painting! F*** ’em all!” as a liberating slogan. More quotations (from Constantin Brancusi, Friedensreich Hundertwasser and Nietzsche) liberally spice the journal, which features work from readers (Eamonn Jenkins on “The Genesis of the ‘Tropic of Cancer’ ” by Michael Fraenkel, and Oliver Kinghorn on “Letters by Henry Miller to Hoki Tokuda Miller”), ditties (haiku by Shannon Smith), philosophical musings (Toru Fukae’s prose on Giacometti, Vienna and the Lakeside Cafe in Japanese), artwork (Irving Stettner) and photos (Yumi Omazaki) for a virtual soul espresso.

With its substantial poetic offerings Cafe makes a fine addition to Kyoto’s alternative bookshelf, joining Kyoto Journal and the international poetry exchange magazine Land and Sea Winds.

Submissions are welcome, but querying first is recommended. Subscriptions: three issues 1 yen,500/$15.00, six issues 2 yen,500/$25, lifetime subscription 10 yen,000/$100. Address for subscriptions and queries: Oliver Kinghorn, Fuji Haitsu #201, Sennyujimonmaecho 29, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto 605-0973.

Another publication, The Capilano Review, is in the enviable position of receiving financial assistance from Capilano College, the Canada Council and the government of British Columbia. It compares favorably to the finest university literary journals in the U.S., and is further distinguished by inserted gloss pages of full-color artwork by Lina Delano in the most recent issue (winter 2000).

Begun in spring 1972 by Pierre Coupey, a faculty member of the Capilano College English Department and a renowned visual artist, the journal is published three times yearly in digest format. Its mandate is to encourage and publish innovative poetry, fiction, drama and work in the visual media.

To date, several special sections and editions have been devoted to the recognition of a particular writer and artist, and these issues often include various forms of critical writing: memoir, correspondence, production or storyboard notes, essay, interview and journal writing. Celebrated in the review have been visual and sound poet bp Nichol, George Bowering, Michael Ondaatje, Robin Blaser, Bill Bissett, Alice Notley and Jack Chambers.

The Capilano Review is planning to publish a special future issue focusing on new Japanese writing and visual art. Works from young leading Japanese authors should be first-time translations in English, with a particular preference for experimental writing. The deadline for submissions is October this year.

For more information, see the Web site at wwwcapcollege.bc.ca/dept/TCT/tcr.html, or contact associate editor Dorothy Jantzen at The Capilano Review, 2055 Purcell Way, North Vancouver, BC, V7J 3H5, or via e-mail at djantzen@capcollege.bc.ca

In a short interview in the newsletter Living Room, poet Barbara Summerhawk (recent coauthor of “Queer Japan”) spoke well of the local literary journals Edge, Abiko Quarterly and Printed Matter. Edge, one of the finest magazines out of the late ’80s (now defunct), published Summerhawk’s translation of writer and feminist Yoko Shima’s poem “Way.” Later, Doyo Bijutsu-sha published “Invitation to a New Yarn,” a bilingual book of the two women’s poetry in mutual translations.

Below is Shima’s poem “The Role of the Sea,” an excerpt from the collection:

The black phone rings from a foreign land “Isn’t a feminist just a cover for the classical lunatic?” I gently cut off the protest of the man friend who Balks at classifying humans into feminists. I think of the poverty of his not being able to leave his Narrow cove. “We can’t escape the fact a tree is a tree.” Because F. Ponju was not a woman, Words have taken leave of their senses. A woman’s living ideology became a man’s doubt, The day the composition praising Curves was created.