The Modern Japanese Prose Poem: An Anthology of Six Poets by Dennis Keene

By Dennis Keene

Even though the prose poem got here into life as a largely French literary style within the 19th century, it occupies a spot of substantial significance in twentieth-century eastern poetry. this option of poems is the 1st anthology of this style and, in influence, the 1st visual appeal of this sort of poetry in English.

Originally released in 1980.

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Again, in the poem "Sunflowers are already black gunpowder" by Anzai Fuyue, the remark about "WeWeWeWeWeWeWe" looking like children skipping is much less intelligible than the original. The two kana letters "wa" and "re" in "ware ware" ("we") do in fact look, if one looks closely, like the upswing and downswing of a skipping-rope. "We" does not look like that; an awk­ ward-minded person might argue that "W" has a sense of raised arms about it, and "e" the swaying circularity of the skipping-rope, but he would have to be joking.

5. , Ubun Shoin, Tokyo, 1973, vol. I, cap. one passim. 6. , Chikuma Shob5, Tokyo, 1971, v. 328-344. 7. 'Shinsanbunshi e no michi', Shi to Shiron, No. 3, 1929. 8. , p. 61, for an example of this. 9. , Baudelaire, Selected Verse, Penguin, Harmondsworth, 1961, pp. 57-58. "A Hemi­ sphere in Your Hair" is on pp. 59-60 of the same volume. 10. See Michael Hamburger, The Truth of Poetry, Pen­ guin, Harmondsworth, 1972, p. 6. 11. See Scarfe, pp. 232-234 and 248-251 for all three poems. 12. , Charles Baudelaire, The Essence of Laughter, Meridian Books, New York, 1956, pp.

This poem satisfies all the demands of modernist po­ etics; the word freed from the tyranny of syntax, the symbol freed from the allegorical requirements of precise signification, the apprehension of the world freed from traditional rationalizations, and language given so much freedom of association that any part of it can signify a whole universe. Yet one result of this is a set of limita­ tions as severe as any of those imposed by the past, for a concern with the as yet unnamed, or with the unnameable, suggests that only experiences of an imprecise, and thus of a very similar, kind may become the true subject of poetry.

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