This event brought together one of Japan’s most prominent contemporary poets, the multi-award winning Gozo Yoshimasu, and the Pulitzer Prize-nominated writer and translator Forrest Gander. Recently, Gozo Yoshimasu has been working with the medium of film, combining the moving image with his poetry. For this event, he showed some of his film work and gave a poetry reading. He then spoke about his work, its development and influences, and how he uses images, colour, typography and photographs. Forrest Gander discussed his translations of the work of Gozo Yoshimasu and other Japanese poets and his relationship with Japanese poetry. The chair for this event was Sayuri Okamoto, who is also a translator of Gozo Yoshimasu’s poetry. She facilitated the discussion whilst contributing to the conversation with her own experience of poetry translation. The two main speakers will also be presenting at the Ledbury Poetry Festival on Sunday 7th July. Gozo Yoshimasu is one of three Japanese poets who have been funded by a Daiwa Foundation Small Grant to travel from Japan to appear at the Festival, which runs from 5-14 July 2013.
About the contributors
Gozo Yoshimasu is one of the most prominent figures in Japanese contemporary literature and art. He started writing poetry in the 1960s when he was a Japanese Literature student at Keio University. He has devoted most of his 50-year career to poetry, but has also created artwork in various media ranging from photography to video to spoken performances. He has won several prizes including the Takami Jun Prize, the Rekitei Prize, the Purple Ribbon Medal, and the Mainichi Geijutsu Prize in 2009 for omote-gami, a photography book. He has taught in many universities worldwide including the University of Southern California, the University of Lyon and Waseda University. At the moment, he devotes his time to creating gozoCiné (video works) and to the publication of books. He received the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays in 2013.
Professor Forrest Gander
Professor Forrest Gander is a writer and translator with degrees in Geology and English Literature. His 2011 book, Core Samples from the World, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. His most recent book is Eiko & Koma, a collaboration with the Japanese-born movement artists Eiko & Koma. A noted translator of Spanish and Latin American authors, Gander is also the co-translator, with Kyoko Yoshida, of Spectacle & Pigsty by Kiwao Nomura, winner of the Best Translated Book Award in 2012. A Professor of Comparative Literature & Literary Arts at Brown University, he is currently editing Alice Iris Red Horse, The Selected Poems of Gozo Yoshimasu.
Sayuri Okamoto (Chair)
Sayuri Okamoto (Chair) is a translator and curator who was born and raised in Shizuoka, Japan. She is a member of a web journal of literary translation Asymptote, and is one of the official English translators of Gozo Yoshimasu. She holds degrees in Art History and Japanese Literature (Waseda University, Japan), certificates in Photography and Film (Art and Architecture School, Waseda University, Japan) and in Teaching Japanese as a Foreign Language (IIEL, UK). She is currently living and working in London (UK), Padua (Italy), and Shizuoka (Japan).