Eileen R. Tabios is a poet working in multiple genres and in-between. She also loves books by writing, reading, publishing, critiquing, romancing and advocating for them. This blog will feature her bibliophilic activities with posts on current book engagements and links to her books and projects related to books.

Thursday, February 15, 2018


Makoto Ueda's (ed.) MODERN JAPANESE TANKA is a fabulous book. It introduces me to 20 of Japan's most renowned tanka poets in the 19th and 20th centuries--I was surprised (and not surprised) that my favorite surfaced so easily and *clearly*: Kunio Tsukamoto. I didn't know anything about him (or any of the other poets) and was not surprised to learn his background -- that he didn't associate with any particular tanka teacher or circle so that his first book was mostly ignored in tanka circles. But one author didn't ignore him: Yukio Mishima. Good for him and him: when you actually focus on the work, the work speaks more than social context.

I appreciate all the poets but another one who stood out is Fumiko Nakajo -- for me, her poems evokes Evelyn Lau's.
There you have it: my unbiased judgment :)
OF COURSE, here's an example of Tsukamoto's tanka -- it's timely, isn't it:

late summer day
in a country on the brink
of collapse

a nail buried in asphalt
shows its sparkling head

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