Hiromi Itō

Hiromi Itō is one of the most important poets of contemporary Japan.  In the 1980s, she wrote a series of collections about sexuality, childbirth, and women’s bodies in such dramatically new and frank ways that she is often credited with revolutionizing postwar Japanese poetry.  Since she moved to the U.S., her work has focused on migration and the psychological effects of linguistic and cultural alienation.  She is the author of over ten collections of poetry, including Sōmoku no sora, winner of the Gendai Shi Techo Prize, and Kawara arekusa, winner of the Takami Jun Award; numerous essay collections and translations; and several novellas and novels, including Ranīnya, winner of the Noma Literary Prize, and Toge-nuki: Shin Sugamo Jizō engi, winner of the Hagiwara Sakutarō Prize and the Izumi Shikibu Prize.  Itō’s first poetry collection translated into English is Killing Kanoko

Updated July 2012

(Photographed by Hirayama Toshio)

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The Asian American Literary Review

Poems by Hiromi Itō -- from Wild Grass on the Riverbank - Part 2

Read Jeffrey Angles’ short essay about Wild Grass on the Riverbank >> 

Mother Leads Us to the Wasteland Where We Settle Down 

Mother led us along and we got on board
We got on and off again
Boarding cars and busses and planes
Then more buses and trains and cars

I was beginning to think that life would go on forever, it would go on forever, but one day it stopped all of the sudden, that day wasn’t especially different from all the others we spent aboard all those buses, trains, cars and airplanes, when we left the airport just ...

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culture en

The Asian American Literary Review

Poems by Hiromi Itō -- from Wild Grass on the Riverbank - Part 1

Read Jeffrey Angles’ short essay about Wild Grass on the Riverbank >> 

Mother Leads Us on Board 

Mother led us along 
And we got on board 
We got on, got off, then on again
We boarded cars and busses
We boarded planes
Then more buses and trains and cars

The place where we arrived was a building full of muffled voices, it had a cold corridor where people had gathered in droves, they were all looking confused, they were all looking confused as they didn’t know what would happen next, they were sitting and looking around with wide open eyes ...

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