Sunday, September 30, 2007


AGENDARS is the title of my on-going poetic project.

The basic unit is a poem of 16 lines (4*4).
I plan to publish about 64 (4*4*4) pieces per year.
When they reach the number of 256 (4*4*4*4), I will make a book of them.
And eventually in all they will make four books, a total of 1024 (4*4*4*4*4) pieces.
It will probably take 16 years to finish this, thus ending in 2024 (I'll be 66).

So far I have submitted 6 pieces to Tamaya (to be published later this year) and 6 to Ahunruparu Tsushin (of which 3 are already published in its No.2).

This will be my work as a poet, and after that I'll make a selection of 256 out of 1024 to make the definitive, single book AGENDARS.

This gives a good reason to survive until 2024, at any cost!


With much hesitation of the past few weeks, cold rain came, finally, bringing with it the long-awaited autumn, cool, soothing, and beautiful in its feel. Congratulations to us all!

This is the loveliest season, the most-promised, the most to-be-fruitful.

The summer has been almost unbearable. But not to be complained. The autumn will be wet. Again, not to be complained. I embrace this time and I go back to my writing.


Thursday, September 27, 2007

On Yoko Tawada

My friend Doug Slaymaker edited a collection of essays on Yoko Tawada: Voices from Everywhere. I contributed a piece. It's published today (Sep. 28) from Lexington Books.^DB/CATALOG.db&eqSKUdata=073912272X

For those of you who are interested in either her German writings or Japanese writings, or both, please take a look.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Encountering a paragraph

With a strange truth in it; it may not be my truth, but a truth nevertheless. Here is one:

I was about seventeen and made lonely and strange by that Pacific Northwest of so many years ago, that dark, rainy land of 1952. I'm thirty-one now and I still can't figure out what I meant by living the way I did in those days.

(Richard Brautigan, "1/3, 1/3, 1/3")

Monday, September 17, 2007

Taking a subway across the Charles

Hugh Kenner's vivacity often stems from his use of anecdotes. Here is an example:

Buckminster Fuller reminds us how for generations it had taken Harvard students all day to visit Boston from Cambridge via Watertown Bridge. The subway that was opened in 1913 promptly cut a leisurely day to seven minutes. That had happened in Fuller's freshman year, and it led him, he says, to speculations about space-time acceleration and the finite velocity of light. (The Mechanic Muse, 27)

Now, this sticks to one's memory. Easily. A point to be emulated.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Technology and Modernism

Here is what Hugh Kenner says in The Mechanic Muse (1987):

X-rays (1895) made plausible transparent planes of matter (Picasso), the wireless superimposed the voices of twenty countries (Finnegans Wake), newsreel quick-cutting helped prompt The Waste Land.

Joyce in the land of omniphony...

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Yet another 49er

One's birthday is always a good point to revise one's life. Blaise Cendrars's birthday is September 1, Antonin Artaud's September 4, and Maurice Blanchot's September 7, I think. In between I have mine on the 3rd. A Virgo, like anybody from Borges and Goethe to Loren Eiseley and Michel Butor, for example. This is the company I belong with. And I have been feeling that for the last twenty years and more.

At 49 going on 50, I have to be serious about what to do for the rest of my life. I envision a decade of professional life ahead of me. There are a bunch and bundle of my past "future projects" lying about. Now, what?

In a decade to come I'll write only about four books, realistically. I'll translate about four. I'll give about 10 academic papers, one per year. The rest is journalism. Can't do much, eh?

Again it's a question of NOT TO DO SUCH AND SUCH. I have always been very weak in this respect.

Lachez tout, amigo. What you write matters. But not it's quantity. Nor it's popularity. What matters is its soul. And soul is only expressed as attitude.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Sylvie Germain

My interview with Sylvie Germain along with my translation of her four short pieces now appeared in Subaru. The four short pieces of her philosophical meditations are so neat! They are: Bibliocosmos, Le vrai lieu est ailleurs, L'infante, Spirale des sens. Check it out to have a look at her stunning imagination...

「シルヴィー・ジェルマン 日蝕から砂漠まで」(「すばる」2007年10月号、 pp.266-282)