Literary Criticism

Anthology of Modern Japanese Poetry by Edith Marcombe Shiffert, Yuki Sawa

By Edith Marcombe Shiffert, Yuki Sawa

The kingdom of eastern poetry within the 20th century, its top of the range and individuality is obviously proven during this publication. The advent supplies a brief,lucid background of poetry in Japan, with the emphasis on glossy poetry. The physique of the ebook is taken up with the interpretation of the paintings of forty-nine greatly acclaimed poets: free-verse poets, tanka poets, and haiku poets. on the again are notes giving illuminating biographical and literary information regarding each one poet. the distinction of the translations and the lucidity of the creation and notes make the e-book a treasure for poetry fanatics all over the place .

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We can acknowledge these rumblings without allowing them to usurp the place of the poem’s actual saying, the actual drama that it plays out. The sea here is He and the speaker a woman, and her femininity is vividly evoked by means of her clothes, and this is all essential to the drama, just as in “The Sick Rose” the threatening worm is male, and the rose plays much the role that the woman in Dickinson’s poem plays – but there are the essential differences that here sexuality is very much not in the foreground, and that the woman is not passive in her relation with the sea.

If we do the former, “no Man” functions more or less like “no one”; if we do the latter, the implication is that she has been moved by mermaids and frigates, but only when the sea encroaches is there a human, gendered presence. And then is “moved” physical or emotional or both? Literally, it’s physical: the sequence clearly runs: “no Man moved Me – till the Tide / Went past my simple Shoe – / … And then – I started”. However, the sequence that follows suggests something more than a change of bodily position is at stake.

Not a very efficient way to commit, or even dally with, suicide. An alternative might be to imagine her wading into the sea, like Chopin’s Edna Pontellier in The Awakening (published in 1899, eight years after the first publication of “I started Early”). Here is Edna on her way to death: “The foamy wavelets curled up to her white feet, and coiled like serpents about her ankles. She walked out. The water was chill, but she walked on. … The touch of the sea is sensuous, enfolding the body in its soft, close embrace” (175–76).

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