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‘All about the Wind’ in the Tower of Babel
MAKOTO OOKA TRANSLATION PROJECT
 
 
‘All about the Wind’ in the Tower of Babel
25 DECEMBER 2017 by Yasuhiro Yotsumoto How do you understand an assertion about something that would “make even a mole cricket swim across the river”? Our PIW translation project involved this idiom and many other intriguing propositions - originally in Japanese - from a section of the three-part poem ‘Kaze no setsu’ (風の説) by Makoto Ooka (included in Sad Songs and Blessings in 1976). Kaze means wind and setsu an opinion or theory. The title can roughly be translated as “theory of the wind”. Janine Beichman translated it as ‘All About the Wind’ in her Beneath the Sleepless Tossing …

Poetitorial
25 DECEMBER 2017 by Yasuhiro Yotsumoto Poems are essentially virtual reality to me. You cannot touch the words. You cannot see the faces behind the voices. Printed letters or recorded sounds are only the media of a poem, but not the poem itself. Poems are created each time you read or hear them anew and afresh in your consciousness. Poetry involves what cognitive scientists call 'qualia', sensations evoked by language but can never be fully expressed by it. Poetry is a paradox. Even if two people share a poem and appreciate its beauty the same way, they can never fully deliver their thoughts and sentiments about it …


Makoto Ooka
(Japan, 1931–2017)
by Yasuhiro Yotsumoto Makoto Ooka, who passed away in April this year at the age of 86, once pointed out that the modus operandi of traditional Japanese poetry is a dynamism between two conflicting mindsets: one that is willing to let go of one’s ego and create …
 
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