The fifth issue of the Tokyo Poetry Journal (ToPoJo) shows it has the scope of ambition and the depth of talent to become a lasting landmark in Japan’s English-language poetry scene. This issue focuses on the way in which U.S. beat poets such as Ginsberg, Snyder, and Rexroth were influenced by Japan and how in turn their work influenced Japanese poets such as Nanao Sakaki and Kazuko Shiraishi. It also examines the roots of Japan’s beat and hippy movements, showing that Japanese poets were traveling a similar path long before encountering their U.S. peers.

One of the pleasures of ToPoJo is its multi-format, multi-layered approach. Moving beyond curating poetry, editor-in-chief Taylor Mignon brings in reflective essays, personal memoirs, translated interviews and correspondence between poets. This layering foregrounds the work of the poets while allowing expression of the ideas behind the work, the influence it had on later poets and their responses. A number of the poems directly address individual poets such as Sam Hamill’s “To Kenneth Rexroth” and Hillel Wright’s “Dreaming of Allen Ginsberg.”

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