I’ve never read Hiromi Ito, but it’s reviews like this that make me wish I had. I especially appreciate the way the reviewer discussed the intermediation of translation, how some the linguistic possibilities of its parent language are inevitably lost, but how new possibilities are gained in the transition to the new language. Fascinating stuff.
Wild Grass on the Riverbank, by Hiromi Itō (translated by Jeffrey Angles). Notre Dame, Indiana: Action Books. 103 pages. $16.00, paper.
(Be carried from your native land to foreign soil, where you will grow wild and propagate)
Marking her return to poetry, Wild Grass on the Riverbank by Hiromi Itō is first and foremost a textual space where language can seek out the wildest, most visceral modes of expression. This lush, entangled narrative poem follows the coming of age of a young girl, who is shuttled back and forth by her mother between a wasteland—reminiscent of arid Southern California—and an overgrown riverbank based on the city of Kumamoto in southern Japan.
More than a Bildungsroman in verse, more than an epic for the modern ages, Wild Grass on the Riverbank subverts traditional literary and symbolic binaries—poetry vs. prose vs. drama, stream of consciousness vs. fragmentation, folk tales and…
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