From great disaster flows great poetry, and this collection of haiku, collated by Madoka Mayuzumi on her visits to the areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami of March 2011 and translated into English, offers insight from those who lost so much.

“Blossoms unseen so many perished in the great tsunami,” writes Sonosuke Takahashi, who mourns the loss of family members ahead of what should have been a joyous season of cherry blossoms. Others reference nuclear anxiety, the pain of fleeing lifelong homes or the relief to be found in the banal. “Evacuated days long in the lodge my grandchild sings,” writes Kiichi Yokota.

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