Minor Press

Tegami is a new free magazine featuring full color art and photography along with minimal text in Japanese. Produced and published in Yokohama, it contains poetic tegami (letters) from contributors all over Japan in response to the 3-11 tragedy. The quality of writing is better described as personal than professional, but as a whole it creates an impressionistic picture combining both concern and hope. Accompanying art and pictures likewise run the gamut from amateur to professional, some of which are quite stunning. Their variety lends the magazine great interest.

The strength of the magazine also lies in its production. Elegant design is marked by ample space to breathe, as well as tasteful composition. It is printed on 58-pages of A4-size matte paper that feels wonderful on your fingertips. A glued-in spine and extra-sturdy cover make it book-like and suitable for a coffee table or shelf.

The magazine is mostly distributed to Sendai, as a message of support. Check out their website for more details: www.ok-drive.com/tegami/




Gary Snyder

Borderless Reading

Gary Snyder has been a cornerstone of American poetry for the last fifty years, and though closely associated with the Beat poetry movement, his style is much more indebted to older poetic traditions. Snyder translated Chinese and Japanese classic poetry for many years, and the aesthetic features of those poems infuse his work to a degree that some readers might sometimes wonder whether he is simply writing American reinterpretations of ancient Eastern work. His reinterpretations of Japanese art, however, are perhaps what gave him such a distinct voice so early in his writing career.

Snyder began studying Japanese landscape painting under Hasegawa Saburô at the American Academy of Asian Studies in the late 1950s. Shortly thereafter he began to write poetry in a style that he felt similar in spirit. Mountains and Rivers without End was the eventual name for this work, though it would take him forty years to complete. In the interim period, Snyder spent significant time in Japan, studying Zen Buddhism in Kyoto, and eventually even becoming a monk. In 1967, he published The Back Country, which included a final section with eighteen translations of poems by Miyazawa Kenji. His 1974 book, Turtle Island, won the Pulitzer Prize.

(Both Turtle Island and Mountains and Rivers Without End have been translated into Japanese)




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