The third issue of the “Tokyo Poetry Journal” takes music as its central theme and, rather in the manner of the Nobel Committee for Literature, has chosen to blur the lines between poetry and songwriting. The first half of the new volume features song lyrics accompanied by QR codes that, once scanned, take the reader to songs on SoundCloud. Ranging from Bob Dylan-esque acoustic numbers to bilingual hip hop tracks, the editors are to be commended for this multiplatform approach to publishing. However, reading the lyrics on paper without the musical framework renders them somewhat denuded.

One standout piece in the second half is Ray Craig’s “Kiss Me Series,” where lines like “Kiss me with Cocteau Twins lullabies on your lips” in Sex Pistols-style lettering are presented alongside badly photocopied pictures of models, creating a wash of nostalgia. The interplay of words and visuals recalls adolescent passion and fanzine culture. Equally resonant are the haiku and paired photographs of Kit Nagamura, a longtime travel writer for The Japan Times.

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