いとしい地球よ ( The Lovely Earth )

Gogyohshi, 五行詩、五行詩文、五行連詩、俳句、エッセイ

五行詩集

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アメリカの短歌雑誌に載った書評

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                               英語雑誌の書評


世界中からの英語短歌や英語五行詩を対象にしているアメリカの短歌雑誌『アトラス ポエティカ』2011年秋号に掲載された私の英語五行詩集『The Lovely Earth 』の書評をここに再掲載します。これは雑誌編集長のM.Keiさんが書いた書評です。I'll publish a review about my gogyohshi book titled,"The Lovely Earth" . M.Kei, the editor of American magazine "ATLAS POETICA" wrote his comments about my poetry book three years ago, in the issue of NO.10 autumn,2011.

REVIEW : The Lovely Earth, by Taro Aizu
 Reviewed by M.Kei,
 Introduction by Brian Zimmer,

 Gogyohshi (five line poem) is a short five line poem originally from Japan. Ultimately derived from tanka, gogyohshi is written on five lines without regard to syllable count. The only requirements is that it be brief. 
  Because of its new née, little information is available in English. Therefore the publication of Aizu's first English-language collection of gogyohshi is a landmark. Aizu is well-known as a Japanese poet writing gogyohshi in Japanese, French, and English, and he has often spoken about gogyohshi, principally through blog and social media. The publication of a formal collection with introduction by Brian Zimmer and Afterword by the poet present important information about gogyohshi in general and the poet's work in particular.
  Aizu's work features a gaunt beauty of words stripped to their bare essentials. Utterly simple, they are far from simplistic. The naturalness of the utterance is so artless that the native reader might question whether they are poems at all, but when we pause to reflect how the ordinary speaker reports on issues such as the death of a pet, the beauty, or the universe, the artistry becomes apparent. Aizu selects minimal images, yet they have profound effect.


The earth
 Lives now
 Like a bird
 Like a fish
 Like a pumpkin.


Is my cat
 Really dead?
 I caress
 Her throat 
 Very softly.


A cherry blossom
 Falls
 Onto the back
 Of my dog
 Sleeping soundly.

 Poems like this are the hallmark of Aizu's personal voice. They have been widely imitated by novice poets who strive for the same artlessness, but not usually with the same success. Striving to reject all artificiality and to speak as directly as possible to lived experience results in a vein of gogyohshi that has the sparse beauty of a rock in snow, and Taro Aizu is one of the most important advocates and examples of the style.
  Tanka poets accustomed to a lusher lyric sometimes reject these gaunt poems as 'not tanka' and 'not even poetry', but tanka carries within itself the same capacity for starkness; what Aizu has done is to carry the 'shasei' or 'sketch from life ' to its logical, photographic extreme. His poetry finds beauty in a landscape in which focus on a single detail, like a Georgia O'Keefe painting, makes it loom large in the mind of the receptive reader.
  A further examination of The Lovely Earth reveals that they are part of a continuum that includes the full-bodied expressiveness that some would assign as an exclusive trait of tanka. Numerous poems in the chapbook exhibit this lyricism; they are in fact the majority.


Though I can neither see
 Nor hear it,
 Time flows
 Through my body
 Like blood.


The wild monkeys
 Soak themselves
 In a hot spring
 Closing their eyes
 In the falling snow.


Palming a firefly
 In my hands
 Like a small cage
 I release it
 Into the silent night.

 The quality of the gogyohshi in the collection is high and there are very few poems that do not live up to the standard Aizu has set. The reader who is curious about gogyohshi and who wants to know what it can accomplish in English finally has a book which they can consult.
 The work is significant not just as a work of gogyohshi, but also as an example of what the poet names in his Afterword as ' World Five Line Poetry'. He explicitly embraces " tanka, chinquain, limerick, pentastich and so on" each with their different "personalities". He does not elucidate the nature of ' world five line poetry', but invites the reader to try gogyohshi for themselves. The Afterword contains helpful references for further information and workshopping. 'The Lovely Earth' is a significant work in the field of micro poetry and will hopefully herald increasing publication by gogyohshi poets, including the founding of journals.






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