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Araki Yasusada

Araki Yasusada

Araki Yasusada

‘Knowing its fictitious nature, with a slight sense of disgust, I find Yasusada’s poetry evil, and eerily beautiful.’
— (Hosea Hirata, Assistant Professor of Japanese Literature, Tufts University.)

In the late 1990s some poems of Araki Yasusada were published in translation in Conjunctions, Grand Street, and other US magazines. Yasusada was a postal clerk whose family had been killed by the atom bomb, but who lived on to 1972.
      Then, in a New York Village Voice Literary Supplement in July 1996, Eliot Weinberger published an article declaring that Araki Yasusada was a pseudonym, perhaps of an anonymous, possibly American poet. A few weeks later, the American Poetry Review published an issue with a special supplement featuring Yasusada, apparently unaware at that stage of problems of Yasusada’s identity. Later in Lingua Franca magazine, APR editor Arthur Vogelsang called the poems a ‘criminal act’, and other articles soon followed: in the Wall Street Journal, the Manchester Guardian, the Sydney Morning Herald, the Financial Times of London; the Asahi Shimbun, and elsewhere.

Links to items in Jacket magazine:

Jacket 2: The Yasusada letters... Kent Johnson and Akitoshi Nagahata (20 pages)
Jacket 4: Forrest Gander reviews Doubled Flowering: From the Notebooks of Araki Yasusada (6 pages)
Jacket 5: An interview with Kent Johnson,conducted by Norbert Francis, on: Robert M. Larsen, Araki Yasusada, and the Will to Power (6 pages)
Jacket 5: Kent Johnson: letter to American Book Review (4 pages)
Jacket 5: Eliot Weinberger’s exposé of Yasusada: ‘Can I Get a Witness?’ (5 pages)
Jacket9: Seven early letters of Araki Yasusada by Tosa Motokiyu (10 pages)

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