Nomura Kiwao


Nomura Kiwao 野村喜和夫

October 20, 1951 -

Authors Homepage
source : www.kiwao.com/

Kiwao Nomura (Saitama, 1951)
is one of the undisputed driving forces behind contemporary Japanese poetry. His initial orientation was towards an academic career: he studied Japanese literature at Waseda University and taught for a number of years at Meiji University. For the past ten years or so, however, he has concentrated exclusively on creative work – as a publicist, performer, main editor of his own periodical and organiser of poetry festivals.

Nomura made his debut at the age of thirty-six with the collection of poems Wilting river, an immediate masterpiece in which a new voice could be heard, a ‘genuine’ poet with his own style and personal themes. It led to his being awarded his first important literary prize (the Rekitei Prize for Young Poets), the beginning of a whole series of awards that could now be considered a whole collection (including the prestigious Takami Jun Prize). To date, Nomura has had a dozen or so collections of poetry published, with such attractive titles as
The rainbow under the cover of town clothes is a snake.

As early as the first collection of poems from 1987 we meet such poems as ‘We, madly are we sown with dust...’, in which the language constantly shifts like a meandering river, with incantatory rhythms that rely on an almost compulsive repetition of just a limited number of concepts or images, often seen from a slightly transposed perspective. This poetry is immediately pleasing to the ear and lends itself to interaction with other art forms. Nomura also likes to collaborate with musicians and visual artists – he sometimes when performing has a cellist as accompanist, he has produced a CD (L’ascension spectacle) where his hypnotic voice alternates with organ music by Olivier Messiaen, or he reads his poems beneath a screen onto which animations of abstract art are projected.

In all such experiments, Nomura shows himself to be very much in search of a centre of gravity where the almost ritual repetitions and revisitations of captivating sounds and (often erotic) images dissolve of their own accord into the night, darkness, nothingness, the end of a delirium – lullabies for adults, one could perhaps call them, not denigrating but in need of help. In the exasperating state of insomnia in which we, creatures of the present age, live, the poetry of Kiwao Nomura serves as a welcome release.

Jan Lauwereyns (Translated by John Irons, 2007)

source : www.poetryinternational.org


Spectacle & Pigsty:
Selected Poems of Kiwao Nomura
Tr. Kyoko Yoshida / Forrest Gander

About the author: Kiwao Nomura was born October 20, 1951, in Saitama Prefecture. He graduated from Waseda University, majoring in Japanese literature. A leading writer of the post-war generation, he is in the forefront of contemporary poetry. At the same time, he is known to be a prolific critic, translator, and essayist on comparative poetics. His work has been translated into many languages and published in magazines abroad, especially in France and the United States. He has performed internationally and released two CDs of collaborations with musicians.

He played a leading role in "Contemporary Poetry Festival 95: Poetry Goes Out" and "Contemporary Poetry Festival 97: Dance and Poésie." In 2007, he organized "The Festival of International Poetry: Toward the Pacific Rim." From August to November 2005, he was a fellow at the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa in the United States. In December of the same year, he served as a director of the "Japan-European Contemporary Poetry Festival in Tokyo."
source : selected-poems-of-kiwao-nomura


Spectacle & Pigsty

Nomura plays with language in radical and diverse ways, employing subtleties of rhythm, semantics, image, gender, punctuation, and repetition, often all within the same short stanza.

Reading poetry in translation often raises the question of how possible it is to translate poetry in the first place (even as we gain something invaluable from the process), the task of fully representing nuances of language, culture, and history daunting at best. Spectacle & Pigsty, the first full-length English translation of contemporary Japanese poet Kiwao Nomura, tests these limits of translation in both style and substance. Nomura plays with language in radical and diverse ways, employing subtleties of rhythm, semantics, image, gender, punctuation, and repetition, often all within the same short stanza. While it seems Sisyphean to relate these subtleties into a different language, those qualities are also the reason Spectacle & Pigsty can be such an exciting read.
The translators Kyoko Yoshida and Forrest Gander even went so far as to take butoh movement classes together in an effort to better understand poems in Spectacle & Pigsty, as dance and performance are fundamental to what happens on these pages. Here, the rhythms are often the most striking components. We are inundated with the repetition of phrases, the layering of sounds, and experimental play with punctuation, lines littered with commas and parenthetical beginnings. At times, these rhythmic repetitions drive the poem, as in “Barely Hinged:”

now in persistent strings of rain
I’ve seen a bird fluttering gone from sight
which is to say persistently

I’ve seen a fluttering bird gone from sight
so to speak in another incantation
seen I’ve gone from sight a bird fluttering
and so it goes in vain

source : the rumpus.net



source : 08kido.htm

His famous poem

source : hannah5.exblog.jp


Japanese Reference

- 野村喜和夫 -

Related words

***** Introducing Japanese Haiku Poets 


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