Acclaimed Japanese poet Takako Arai plaits together universal strands of feeling, her words weaving the frayed, displaced lives of her frequently female narrators into something wholly original. From textile workers and factory girls to an aging prostitute or the goddess of dance, Arai's poems unravel complicated lives in an ever-widening mesh of humanity, her style retaining an energy and optimism despite her visceral, often disturbing subject matter.

Sea of Trees: Poetic Gateways to Aokigahara, by Takako Arai, Jordan A. Y. Smith, Sayaka Osaki and Yasuhiro Yotsumoto.TOPOJO EXCURSIONS, Poetry.

In the English introduction to "Soul Dance," Arai calls poetry a "dance of language," and her trademark combination of dialogue, prose, sentence fragments, jarring imagery and unexpected symbolism indeed evoke the spinning, relentless vitality of movement.