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Hiromi Ito burst onto the Japanese literary scene in the 1980s with her unabashedly frank considerations of what it is to be female, poetically excavating our bodies, our sexuality and our role as mothers.

Her colloquial, spoken-text narratives — in direct contrast to polished, traditional Japanese forms like tanka or haiku — have garnered both praise and criticism. Yet for Ito, words spill out, sacred and unstoppable, like a force of nature; nothing has slowed down her varied flow of work over the past four decades.

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