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Proudly part of the New Directions Poetry Pamphlets, a mesmerizing collection by a Japanese forerunner of Modernist poetry
Hagiwara writes in the preface: “The author’s past life was that of a disconsolate iceberg that drifts and flows in the extreme regions of the northern seas. Looking at the phantom-like auroras from various spots of the iceberg, he yearned, suffered, rejoiced, sorrowed, at times getting angry with himself, as he wandered on vainly with the tides…. Above his heart were always the disconsolate clouded skies of the extreme regions, the soul-ripping winds of the Iceland howling, screaming. He wrote all that painful life and the diary of a real person in these poems.”
About the Author
Sakutaro Hagiwara (1886–1942) is a seminal figure in modern Japanese literature who broke traditional poetic forms in favor of a free verse style that mixed literary and everyday diction with intense imagery, deep philosophy, and verbal distortions.
Hiroaki Sato was born of Japanese parents in Taiwan in 1942; his family fled back to Japan at the end of WWII, and in 1968 he moved to New York, where he has lived ever since. He is the translator of many volumes of Japanese poetry and literature. The president of the Haiku Society of America from 1979 to 1981, Sato received the America PEN translation prize and the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission Translation Prize twice. He is the author of the books Legends of the Samurai, Snow in a Silver Bowl, and One Hundred Frogs, and from 2000 to 2017 wrote the monthly column “View from New York” for The Japan Times. New Directions also publishes his translation of The Iceland by Sakutaro Hagiwara.