Contemprary Tanka Poet Mariko Kitakubo. Media coverage.
TV program in Japan Broadcasting Corporation.
My tanka will be introduce a tv program in Japan Broadcasting Corporation.
|broadcasting station||Japan Broadcasting Corporation|
Sunday, May 27, 2012
Tanka Online Project
Through the courtesy of Ms. Jeanne Emrich, three pages of my tanka will be publicized in Tanka Online Project. I am honored to be able to participate in such a great project.
Please click here to move to Tanka Online Project.
Sunday, April 1, 2012
Australian Poetry website introduces the conversation and Tanka reading with Ms. Beverley at the English Tanka workshop held in Australia in August, 2011.
Please click here to move to Australian Poetry website.
Monday, August 15, 2011
off the Colorado River
unties my hair—
I'd like to die
Mariko Kitakubo. the wind. from TSA Ribbons Vol.6 #4.
Thursday, July 7, 2011
"Jiyu-Jizai" published by Juken Kenkyu Sha.
A popular study guide for senior children at elementary school introduced my tanka in the section of poetry appreciation.
I am very honored to be selected as one of the 23 poets whose works I studied in the textbooks when I was a student.
My tanka introduced:
I hear a voice
telling me I should
shed my husk,
be born anew
|23 poets introduced:|
|Kakinomotono Hitomaro||Motoori Norinaga||Kitahara Hakushu|
|Empress Jito||Ryokan||Yosano Akiko|
|Yamanoueno Okura||Masaoka Shiki||Tawara Machi|
|Yamabeno Akahito||Ishikawa Takuboku||Kitakubo Marikoこ|
|Kino Tomonori||Ito Sachio||Terayama Shuji|
|Fujiwarano Toshiyuki||Shimaki Akahiko||Kato Jiro|
|Minamotono Sanetomo||Saito Mokichi||Homura Hiroshi|
|Oota Doukan||Wakayama Bokusui|
Saturday, January 1, 2011
My reading performance photo was inserted in the article written by Mr. Hiroshi Shionozaki, the former secretary general of the Japan Tanka Poets' Society and the former chief editor of Tanka Journal.
Friday, January 15, 2010
The Society of Women Writers NSW Inc. official newsletter "Images"
December 2009 - January 2010 Issue
Articles on the 4th Haiku Pacific Rim "Wind Over Water" in Terrigal, Australia and the 6th International Tanka Festival, Tokyo.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
10 pieces of my tanka was included in Kadokawa's "Contemporary Tanka Corpus."
|Vol. 1 LIVELIHOOD|
|Vol. 2 LIFE|
|Vol. 3 NATURE|
|Vol. 4 SOCIETY & CULTURE|
|Appendix INDEX & CHRONOLOGY|
I am very much honored that my works are included in Kadokawa's "Contemporary Tanka Corpus", which is the encyclopedia of 3,000 tanka poems by 1,600 poets.
Vol. 1 LIVELIHOOD
-threnody- (mourning deceased mother)
into corners of the glass door -
an unfinished letter,
Mother departed this life
its back to the dining-table
where there's peach jam,
casts no shadow
Vol. 2 LIFE
has the green fish
inside of me
since my son first
fell in love?
-married couple/parent and child- (loving mother)
while I gaze at the sky
of hydraulics, of what
my boy is studying
those letters in the Cold Forest,
did my father
Vol. 3 NATURE
-seasons & nature- (winter)
way up high
in a bare tree
winter has come
bringing with it
letters for the deceased
-seasons & nature- (stars)
on this same star
trees, wild beasts,
Vol. 4 SOCIETY & CULTURE
-history & current news- (deserted village)
continue to fall
on this ruined village
where like a scream
the silence shines
how delightful are
Tanzanian place names:
out of my atlas
Monday, November 30, 2009
Oct. 11, 2009 I will perform Tanka reading at the 6th International Tanka Festival in Tokyo 2009.
Date & Time: October 11, 2009 Starting at 10.30
Place: Meiji Jingu Shrine, Sanshuden Hall
Organizer: Nihon Kajin Club
Friday, November 20, 2009
|Mariko Kitakubo Tanka Reading Collection "Messages"
Produced an audio CD of my tanka reading collection, "Messages.
The CD includes more than sixty tanka from "On This Same Star" and "Cicada Forest" categorized in five themes. Prepackaged bilingual booklet also shows phonetic spelling of Japanse tanka. I hope it turns out to be helpful for those who are not farmiliar with Japanese letters.
e-mail query: email@example.com
Saturday, October 10, 2009
as if I am
repairing my feelings
a bit at a time
I paint my nails
slowly and carefully
in the deep silence
of scorching midday heat,
my mother's spine
our wartime defeat
on a far-off sandhill
you shade your eyes--
I want to be
that small object
in your gaze
I have no way
of being really sure
yet my nails are growing
maybe it's better
not to know the depth
of her wounds--
tranquilly I asked
"how many sugar lumps"
I really am
a potato field
and the wide sky
vanishing from a puddle
Friday, December 12, 2008
Poet and Tanka
by Mariko Kitakubo
translated by Amelia Fielden
My father disappeared from our family life when I was a mere eight years old and still seeing the world through a young green mist. It was around when that I came to be invited to an adults only New Year party where ten or so of my relatives gathered together. What I really enjoyed there, were the traditional games and pastimes which followed our New Year feast. It was all rather different from the way I played card games and 'twisters' with girls of my own age. The most fun was the 'five seven five' word game.
I should explain this game: Each participant is given a set of five sheets of notepaper. The sheets are numbered one to five. On sheet one, the player writes whatever she likes in five syllables, on sheet two, something in seven syllables and so on in the order of 5 7 5 7 7 syllables. The leader then collects all these sets, shuffles the sheets, and reads them out five at a time, as if they were tanka. Compiled thus haphazardly, the resulting 'poems' can vary from the absurd to the brilliant. This randomness is what makes the game such fun. Everyone laughs and is companionable.
Even now, many years later, that living room with tree shadows flickering on paper screens, that room where I first played the five seven five word game, recurs like dream in my mind. It was an unhurried era, which seemed to showcase a Japan of abundant leisure hours. Perhaps that is how and why the rhythm of tanka became a delight and a source of healing for me.
I first began writing tanka about my son about sixteen years ago in 1992. It was when Tawara Machi’s Salad Anniversary tanka collection appeared, creating a sensation both on the tanka stage and in society at large. For me personally, the ‘Japanese 5/7 rhythm,’ which had been slumbering in my heart, was aroused by her work. At the time my son was already seven years old, but my mind would back to his birth, and I became absorbed in writing my memories of those early years. And as I watched my son growing day by day, it was somehow natural for me to become interested in, and in turn greatly impressed by, the excellent tanka written by youthful poets like Terayama Shuji. Simulated by such wonderful work, I wrote and published successively three collections of my tanka: I Want to Tell You in the Words of Waves (1999), When the Music Stops (2002) and Will (2005).
Then, in the fulfillment of my long-held desire, Amelia Fielden translated a large selection of the tanka from the tanka from my third collection, Will, and this was published in 2006 as the book On This Same Star.
My web site (http;://tanka.kitakubo.com), which was developed around the same time as On This Same Star appeared, apparently caught the eye of the then editor of Ribbons, an’ya, who kindly invited me to become a member of TSA and also submit tanka in English to its journal. Which I was only too delighted to do.
It has been my unimaginable good fortune to have the door to the mansion of English tanka opened for me in this way by Amelia and an’ya.
In my recent anthology, Cicada Forest, the first chapter is entirely new, in which I try to write about now and future, both in concrete and metaphysical terms:>
we won’t know
if it’s benign
till we operate -
I’m nodding as if
this isn’t about me
a hundred years later
I’m scooping up,
both hands full
of warm sand
In chapter two, from I Want to Tell You in the Words of Waves, I watch a son’s growth through the eyes of mother:
by his umbilical cord
I hold my son, then
all the stars of heaven
fall down upon me
too small in two months…
it lies in a drawer
Chapter three is form When the Music Stops， and contains poems with which I write about the anxiety of my own and all animate beings in the present day:
when I try to hear the wind,
the sound of nails
being hammered into my coffin
rings in my ears
I feel the plight
of endangered creatures
on this planet,
like they’re looking at me
with my child’s eyes
After I lost my mother I somehow felt even more strongly the bonds between us, and I tried to express that on in On This Same Star, some of which appears in the final chapter of Cicada Forest:
tonight as I
hull kidney beans
engraved with her name
is growing cold
day by day
my cracked recollections
whirl up with the wind
on a winter’s day
of mother and child at play
My earnest wish now is too see tanka, Japan’s ancient and traditional fixed from poetry, become familiar and appreciated world-wide. I feel my responsibility as a Japanese tankaist is to continue writing and propagating our lyric verse of the best of my ability.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Modern English Tanka, Autumn 2008, BOOK REVIEW
Cicada Forest: An Anthology of Tanka
by Mariko Kitakubo
translated by Amelia Fielden
Review by Denis M. Garrison
Cicada Forest: An Anthology of Tanka by Mariko Kitakubo, translated by Amelia Fielden. Tokyo, Japan: Kadokawa Shoten, 2008. ISBN 978-4-04-652019-7 C0092. Trade paperback, 5¼" by 8", perfect bound, 192 pages. $15.00 USD. ¥1800E. Cover design by Yoko Hasegawa; cover calligraphy by Hiroshi Hurugoori.
Cicada Forestis a collection of Mariko Kitakubo’s tanka in Japanese accompanied by fine English translations by the renowned Amelia Fielden. In addition to the bilingual text, the book includes a preface by Michael McClintock that supplies an educated vantage point from which to regard the verses themselves and the poet in the context of her art at this moment in time. A charming “Greeting from the Poet” follows the preface.
Cicada Forestis an anthology of Kitakubo’s recent work plus selections from her previous collections, I Want to Tell You in the Words of Waves , When the Music Stops , and On This Same Star (which also is bilingual). The presentation throughout is usually four (sometimes, three) poems to the page, English on the left and Japanese on the right. It is a judicious design, allowing the tanka to be very readable. Likewise judicious is the selection of tanka and their arrangement which presents them to advantage. There is a natural flow to the entire collection that does not happen by chance.
I have read Cicada Forestover and over. It engages me as few such collections can. Here we have the poet’s fully realized voice, even in translation, coming through with a distinctive timbre and tone that becomes recognizable. That is remarkable insofar as her diction is quite natural, rather than stylized. There is a lovely, appealingly musical quality to these tanka that enhances the potent content rather than smoothing it over.
in the foal’s eyes
some part of me
is being loosened
Kitakubo pulls together the personal and the universal with graceful ease, as in:
as the baby
descends the slope to sleep
to be shutting down
the day for me
Quoting a few, or even a few dozen, of the wonderful tanka from this collection cannot do it justice. This is one of those collections, like several classics that we all have come to love, that reveals the poet’s life and inner being. After reading Cicada Forest , we are beguiled into believing that we know Kitakubo like a close friend, a cherished friend, even though here, as with personal relationships, we really catch only a glimpse.
can no more be entrusted
than can the timing
of a perfect soft-boiled egg
I haven’t wept
as most women would.
in my house
by the roaring sea.
Kitakubo is not sanguine about her legacy:
there on the beach
only an oar—
my name will never
ever be remembered
Oh, I think that it will. I am sure that it will.
This is an outstandingly beautiful and engaging collection of tanka which every tanka lover will want to own so that they can read it over and again. Mariko Kitakubo’s Cicada Forestis a collection for the ages. We also must be grateful to Amelia Fielden for making this work available to us in English.
—Denis M. Garrison, editor
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Tanka Society of America, Ribbons Summer 2008
Cicada Forest by Mariko Kitakubo, trans.by Amelia Fielden, Kadokawa Gakugei Shuppan Ltd.,Tokyo,2008.ISBN978-4-04-652019-7C0092.51/4by8,paperback,perfect bound, 189pages.
Reviewed by Dave Bacharach
For some time now,I had been thinking that I would
like to put together a bi-lingual anthology of my work.
But I held back,feeling that it was not yet appropriate
for an immature poet like myself to do so.
With these words Mariko Kitakubo opens her preface to this recent anthology of her work, consisting of new tanka and selections from I Want to Tell You in the Words of Waves(1999),When the Music Stops(2002),and On This Same Star(2006). Neither of the first two books have been published in English, which means that besides the 24 tanka selected from On The Same Star, the other 312 poems are appearing in English for the first time here. Kitakubo’s modest description of herself is belied by the poetry found in her anthology. Her range of expression, varietyof subject matter, broad structural devices, and, as Michael McClintock phrases it in his introduction, her “transcendent, personal vision of human experience,” all indicate her mature mastery of the form, She tends to write about people close to her: her son, her mother, her father, her lover; but so keen is her self-understanding, and so effectively is she able to convey her thoughts and feeling through her poems, that the reader’s level of recognition passes beyond the particular subject of any one poem and enters areas universal to the human condition. In the generous opening section, consisting of 92 previously unpublished poems, she writes of death and illness, love and the loss of love, and her father. Rain and water imagery are always important to Kitakubo, and they appear in many of the poems, as well as symbols and descriptions of decay and dissolution; sometimes both water and decay occur in the same poems, often with added poignancy created by personification:
were they yearning
for some distant water,
when my necklace broke
a single grape
with an innocent gaze
begs my help
before it is crushed
It is instructive how, in the second poem, a sense of deep pathos is created around the fate of a mere grape. A thoughtful rereading of the poem reveals that it achives its affect by the use of language in lines two, three, and four that is associated in the reader’s mind with the violent death of a child.
Kitakubo’s father, who left her and her mother when the poet was very young, figures in some of tanka of the latter part of this section. The water theme continues, and she adroitly uses it as a defining simile in a poem about her father:
vanishing from a puddle
In the selections from I Want to Tell You in the Words of Waves, the author’s son and father appear prominently, and though it is natural that the two should be linked in her imagination, the recognition of that link comes as a shock to the author. She uses a simple but highly effective metaphor to describe that shock:
when he bends down
I can see in the boy
my dead father ―
the pendulum of my chest
slowly comes to a stop
Themes of birth and renewal occur throughout the section. As the title suggests, water again appears often as a recurring symbol, especially in the latter part of the section, with several poems set at the beach and referencing the sea. In a series of compelling tanka, Kitakubo emphasizes the deep, almost mystical connection between water, the birth process, and the essence of being a female. It is suggested that, ultimately ,water is the last refuge for a woman:
mind and body
the sea accepts women
have nowhere to go
sick at heart
as I face the tide
what do I hope for,
what is my future
Many of the poems in When the Music Stops, the next to last section, express the sadness and nostalgia brought about by meditation upon temporality and death. Kitakubo’s images are always clear, hard, and striking, leaving little ambiguity as to meaning:
when I try to hear the wind,
the sound of nails
being hammered into my coffin
rings in my ears
Some of these poems contain surprising images of violence, as in one startling instance where, without warning, the author makes an observation one might expect to find in a tanka written by Dostoevsky:
wraps my morning window ―
the secret desire
to murder, and love,
are extremely similar
The last section, selected from On This Same Star, focuses on the author’s mother, whose death was the dominant theme of the book. This section is relatively brief, consisting of 24 poems, but they provide some of the bittersweet flavor of On This Same Star, and will motivate many readers to seek it out.
The above examples give some indication of Kitakubo’s variety of theme, image, and structure. A unifying element, however, runs through it ― an overrinding sense of the human condition, its joys, sadness, anger, bitterness, fear, and hope. Much of the book’s effects can be credited to Amelia Fielden’s thoughtful and knowing translation, in which the author gave her a than usual insight into the meaning and style of the poetry in its original language. This is all to the reader’s benefit: we can be grateful to the poet/translator team that has produced this volume. Perhaps in the future, if we are luchky, the same team will consider making the rest of Kitakubo’s work available to the English reading world.
Friday, August 15, 2008
Information on my reading event on Sept. 20th together with my latest bilingual anthology “Cicada Forest” was introduced in Pacific Asia Museum Newsletter.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
|Although TANKA has not gained as much popularity as HAIKU overseas yet,more and more TANKA poems are translated, and the number of the poets who compose English TANKA is definitely increasing.
Mariko Kitakubo's new collection, "Cicada Forest", has been published recently.
Translation into English was done by Ms. Amelia Fielden, a superb translator of Japanese literature, awarded Donald Keen Prize.
Mr. Michael McClintock, president of the Tanka Society of America,praise Mariko's work very highly in the preface he wrote to "Cicada Forest."
September this year, Mariko performs reading in the U.S.A., and in 2009, in some other countries including Canada.
Sunday, July 6, 2008
Information on my reading event on April 19th was introduced in Pacific Asia Museum Newsletter.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Minutes of the Spring Meeting of the Haiku Poets of Northern California, Room C 370, Fort Mason, San Francisco CA, April 13, 2008
The meeting was opened by president, Garry Gay, at 1:30 p.m.
After a break for refreshments, Paul O. Williams gave an overview of the history of tanka, beginning with the 7th century introduction of waka to Japan from China. Tanka Flourished as a form of love poetry exchanged among the aristocratic class in the Heian Era and remains a popular practice in modern Japan. Paul noted that while some Americans and other English speaking people began writing haiku about 50 years ago, most of us were not aware of tanka until recently. He credited The Ink Dark Moon (translated by Jane Hirshfield with Mariko Aratani, Vintage Books, 1986) with introducing many Americans to the tanka form. Paul commented that tanka is more similar to western poetry than haiku."Tanka invites you to be more open, to say something and then say how you feel about it," he said. Paul then introduced our guest Mariko Kitakubo, a prominent Japanese tanka poet and the author of four tanka collections. Her most recent book, On This Same Star, translated by Amelia Fielden, is her first collection of tanka available in English. Paul said of her new book On This Same Star, "it is hard to exaggerate how good it is."
Mariko, beautifully attired in kimono with a hand-embroidered obi,read a selection of tanka in Japanese, with dramatic pauses and changes in the emotional tone of her voice which greatly enhanced the effect of the poems even for those of us with limited or no knowledge of the Japanese language. Linda Galloway read each poem in English. A sample of the poems read:
of birth -
on this same star
trees, wild beasts
bearing clouds aloft
the wind blew past
into autumn -
no-one gives me
a backward glance
‘keep a dog
keep a parrot,’
I will keep a young man
a scrawny young man
More information as well as additional poems are available on
http://tanka.kitakubo.com/english/ as well as on the tankaonline
Mariko's book On This Same Star can be purchased through the Pacific Asia Museum store in Pasadena. To order, please contact the store at 626-449-2742, extension 6 or contact the store manager, Tai Ling Wong via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The price is $15 plus shipping.
After a brief time for socializing and book singing, the meeting adjourned at around 4:45.
Submitted by Susan Antolin, Newsletter Editor
Sunday, April 13, 2008
|M. Kitakubo Perform Tanka-Reading in USA starting April 13th.
Mariko Kitakubo, who puts focus on tanka-reading in Japanese overseas, will display her performance this year again in San Francisco starting April 13th.
This year, she attends the annual convention of Haiku Poets of Northern California (HPNC), which is organized by poets from the countries such as the US, Canada, Greek, New Zealand.
The schedule of her tanka-reading with Ms. Linda Galloway, who is active in the field of English Haiku and Tanka poet, is as follows;
April 13th 13:00 : At HPNC convention
April 19th : At Pacific Asia Museum
April 23rd : Santa Monica College
Friday, March 28, 2008
M. Kitakubo will hold Tanka-reading session with Ms. A. Fielden on Sept. 23
|Mariko Kitakubo, who actively performs tanka-reading overseas, and Ms. Amelia Fielden, an Australian Poet, will hold a reading performance at Kibunya, Tokyo.
Mbira, an African ethnic musical instrument, will add an international touch to their performance.
Admission 2,500yen including one welcome drink.
Thursday, September 6, 2007