I just received Tada Chimako's selected poems, Forest of Eyes, translated by the always awesome Jeffrey Angles. You can learn a bit more about the book here
The UC website says this: "One of Japan’s most important modern poets, Tada Chimako (1930–2003) gained prominence in her native country for her sensual, frequently surreal poetry and fantastic imagery. Although Tada’s writing is an essential part of postwar Japanese poetry, her use of themes and motifs from European, Near Eastern, and Mediterranean history, mythology, and literature, as well as her sensitive explorations of women’s inner lives make her very much a poet of the world. Forest of Eyes offers English-language readers their first opportunity to read a wide selection from Tada’s extraordinary oeuvre, including nontraditional free verse, poems in the traditional forms of tanka and haiku, and prose poems. Translator Jeffrey Angles introduces this collection with an incisive essay that situates Tada as a poet, explores her unique style, and analyzes her contribution to the representation of women in postwar Japanese literature."
I say that it is somewhere in the space between Notley, Calvino & Ceravolo & that it is some of the best writing I have read this year. Check out this first section of her eleven-part poem "From a Woman of a Distant Land":
In this country, we do not bury the dead. We enclose them like dolls in glass cases and decorate our houses with them.
People, especially the cultivated one from old families, live surrounded by multitudes of dignified dead. Our living rooms and parlors, even our dining rooms and our bedrooms, are filled witt our ancestors in glass cases. When the rooms become too full, we use the glass cases for furniture.
On top of where my twenty-five-year-old great-grandmother lies, beautiful and buried in flowers, we line up the evening soup bowls.
It just gets better from there. I'm only part-ways through the book right now, but I already keep paging back to re-read previous poems. This is good.
Hey, remember this awesome recovery project essay by Matthew Henriksen about William Heyen's Lord Dragonfly: Five Sequences?
Well that book has now been reissued by H_ngm_n books & it is pretty wonderful. His longer lined poems I enjoy but his brief poems in series are spellbinding. You can fill in all the obvious reference points of Neidecker, Creeley, James Wright, haiku, but these poems happen more fully than almost anyone else i can think of doing these instantiated evocation poems. Check out the opening two sections of the title series:
A friend dies.
forcing the lilac to flower.
In a corner of the field, wild
grapevine climbs a lightning
groove in the ash trunk.
Where are the dead?
That's pretty badass. I recommend you read the whole series out loud as soon as possible.