Tuesday, May 4, 2021

One Man's Maple Moon: Horizon and Silk Needle Tanka by Shuji Terayama

English Original

in order to sew up
the horizon
my sister hid
a silk needle
in the sewing box 

Kaleidoscope, 2007 

Shuji Terayama

Chinese Translation (Traditional)


Chinese Translation (Simplified)

Bio Sketch

The avant-garde stage and film director, poet, critic, author and founder of the experimental theater group Tenjo Sajiki, Shuji Terayama was born in 1935 in Aomori, Japan. He started writing tanka in his late teens and received the Tanka Kenkyu Award for Emerging Poets. He published several tanka collections before he stopped writing at the age of 30. Many of his tanka read more like scenes from a movie scene or short story. He died in 1983. The first English language collection of his tanka, Kaleidoscope, was published by The Hokuseido Press in 2008 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of  his death.

1 comment:

  1. There is no typical "shift-and-link" relationship between the two parts of the tanka. This is an imaginary tanka written by one of the most creative tanka poets, Shuji Terayama, many of whose tanka read "like scenes from a movie, stage play, or short story."

    Generically speaking, this tanka can be categorized as "leaping poetry," a type of "surrealist poetry" where the artistic/surreal leap bridges the gap between conscious and unconscious thought, a process that Robert Bly refers to as “riding on dragons.”

    For more information about Shuji Terayama's tanka, see To the Lighthouse: Shuji Terayama's Tanka Poetics, "Fiction of Possibility," accessed at http://neverendingstoryhaikutanka.blogspot.com/2016/06/to-lighthouse-terayama-shujis-tanka.html