Keijiro Suga- Japan

Keijiro Suga (b. 1958) is a Tokyo-based poet and critic. He has published ten books of critical essays of which Transversal Journeys (2010) was awarded the Yomiuri Prize for Literature in 2011. Agend’Ars is a series of 16-line poems consisting of 256 pieces. These were published in 4 separate books from 2010 to 2013 and a Spanish translation appeared in Mexico in 2015. A prolific translator, his translations from French, Spanish, and English into Japanese include works by such authors as Edouard Glissant, J.M.G. Le Clézio, Maryse Condé, Isabelle Allende, Jamaica Kincaid, and Aimee Bender. He teaches critical theory at Meiji University, Tokyo.

Keijiro Suga (b. 1958) is a Tokyo-based poet and critic. He has published ten books of critical essays of which Transversal Journeys (2010) was awarded the Yomiuri Prize for Literature in 2011. Agend’Ars is a series of 16-line poems consisting of 256 pieces. These were published in 4 separate books from 2010 to 2013 and a Spanish translation appeared in Mexico in 2015. A prolific translator, his translations from French, Spanish, and English into Japanese include works by such authors as Edouard Glissant, J.M.G. Le Clézio, Maryse Condé, Isabelle Allende, Jamaica Kincaid, and Aimee Bender. He teaches critical theory at Meiji University, Tokyo.

I

Time has come to make this room my atelier
What is to be produced are fruits without water
Its contour will be drawn by the broken lines like a constellation
And will form a gentle slope that falls into the sea.
Its free pitch interfering with its scratch
Three light birds are flying in the shadow of a tower that’s moving away
Whatever empire may rise and fall in this world
Just one republic after your wish will suffice for you
Based in the land that sees through the snow as the essence of maple trees
In my atelier there is no dictionary
It is equipped instead with every sort of nails and sandpapers
Here you witness random flights of lead like those of honeybee
And the letters disconsolately evaporate
Reinterpret the melting latitude
In the center of this room I will place a round birch table
And around it invite six deads at every noon

II
“Poetry cannot not be a novel,”
Said the poet whom I had as my mentor when I was young.
Later I met a teacher (critic) who said:
“Poetry should be free of stories.”
“That’s architectonics of images
And a meticulous attempt at a culture of syntax.”
I think I understood both of them, but choosing is another matter.
Since then I have walked the savanna chasing bush dogs
And fallen down on the medieval pavement, breaking my ankle.
All these years my mind was alight like a silent bush fire.
When you write, for example, “the lights are dancing,”
You can’t tell the plurality of light until you count the light’s source.
But then, if you consider all the lights as reincarnations of the sunlight,
It is correct to say that the light of the world can only be singular.
Then, when you begin to depict at all the effects of light
I no longer had a way out from telling a story.

III
“The ring of the Saturn turns around my head,” says Paul
And I don’t know what it means
My two eyeballs are two little earths
Each having a water hemisphere
On each earth oceanic volcanoes are erupting
And massive convection is churning the ocean
On each earth volcanic islands upheave
While coral reefs secretly subside
You see the sunset at least once a day
On each earth nights and days successively arrive
All brain waves record a tsunami
“Allons voir l’archipel, chica!”
How then, from now on, should I draw the lines
Of longitude and latitude on my eyeballs?
What warped equator can I expect on them?
Won’t you, Paul, lend me your two portable rings for my eyeballs?

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