If you think of haiku when you think of Japanese poetry, Kiwao Nomura’s work will be a huge surprise. His strange and wild poems deal with sex and loss and memory by making unpredictable leaps of association. Imagine Fugazi singing philosophy and you get close. Inspired by shamanism, Kiwao Nomura sounds like nothing you’ve ever heard before and like something you want to hear over and over. He is one of the two or three of the most influential living Japanese poets, and his work will be as stunningly original and compelling to contemporary Americans as haiku was to the late Victorians.
Kiwao Nomura was born in 1951 in Saitama Prefecture. He graduated from Waseda University, majoring in Japanese literature. A leading writer of the post-war generation, he is in the forefront of contemporary poetry. At the same time, he is known to be a prolific critic, translator, and essayist on comparative poetics. His work has been translated into many languages and published in magazines abroad, especially in France and the United States. He has performed internationally and released two CDs of collaborations with musicians. He played a leading role in Contemporary Poetry Festival 95, Poetry Goes Out and Contemporary Poetry Festival 97, Dance and Poésie. In 2007, he organized The Festival of International Poetry: Toward the Pacific Rim. From August to November 2005, he was a fellow at the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa in the United States. In December of the same year, he served as a director of the Japan-European Contemporary Poetry Festival in Tokyo.
Kyoko Yoshida was born and raised in Fukuoka, Japan. She was a participant of the 2005 International Writing Program at University of Iowa. Her stories have been published in The Massachusetts Review, Chelsea, The Cream City Review and The Beloit Fiction Journal, among other places. She is working on a novel about the visit of American Negro League baseball players to Japan in the 1930s. In addition, she translates Japanese contemporary poetry and drama. Recently a Visiting Scholar at Brown University, she teaches English at Keio University and lives in Yokohama.
Nomura’s publisher, Omnidawn, is based in the Bay Area, and has been publishing innovative writing since 2001, including poetry, poetics, translations, and fabulist fiction. Our books are distributed nationally by Independent Publishers Group (IPG), have been reviewed widely, and have received awards, including a PEN USA Award in Poetry and two PEN USA Awards in Translation.