Saturday, March 06, 2010

Hiromi Ito Questions

People have asked me if they can still post questions for Hiromi Ito.

Yes, you can.

Post them in the comments to this post over the next week.



Blogger Kim said...

i was wondering what Ito-san thinks about the translation and the issues of translation -- for example -- akachan -- is baby -- but akanbou also means baby -- but akachan also denotes affection and akanbou doesn't. Do you feel that the english translation conveys these sort of nuances well?

also -- what are your thoughts on the transnational writer? What is it like to live in northern coastal San Diego where the dominant languages are English and Spanish? Are you interactive with the Japanese community in San Diego? Has living in California influenced your writing? If so, how?

In the notes for "I am Anjuhimeko" it say that the prose poem is a feminist retelling of "Sanshou the Bailiff" -- I was wondering how you came upon this story and why you decided to retell it? Also how do you feel about the reappropriation or reclamation of old stories or folk stories and giving them a feminist twist? How do you think this impacts Japanese culture? You acceptance as a poet? as a feminist model, perhaps?

1:10 PM  
Blogger Monica said...

Here are the questions I would ask Hiromi Ito:

Before you got interested in Native American poetry, which poets were you reading? Which poets influenced you in your early career as a poet?

The Translator’s Notes in “Killing Kanoko” suggest that you read widely, and that your reading practice in a very real way informs and infects your poems – quotations from books find their way into a poem as the poem is becoming, etc. Feminist theory, in particular, seems to have been important to you when you were writing the poems included in the Action Books translation. Which theorists are important to you right now?

It seems to me that even though you draw on personal experiences in writing your poems, your poetry resists the tag “confessional”. The “I” seems to be, often, an “I” you are consciously constructing (rather than a lyric “I”) – shall we say reconstructing – along with its experiences in and of the body. This “I” does not heed taboos about the female body or female/maternal role or sex. It places itself in a lineage of women and mothers, but puts into question how the lineage understands itself. It knows where to insert itself. Sometimes it comes directly out of an intertext. The “I” is more than a “shamaness of poetry” even though the repetitions in its poems often evoke shamanic rhythmic chants. Could you talk about how personas/narratives work in your poems?

2:56 PM  
Blogger Daniel Citro said...

Following Monica, I’m also thinking about how persona is working in this book. I’m interested in hearing a little about Kanoko’s reaction to these poems, or if she is still too young to pay much attention or otherwise ambivalent, then I wonder if the poet might speak a little about her experience writing and publishing a book called “Killing Kanoko.” On one level, as I think Monica mentioned above, the poems seem to me oddly impersonal, despite their intimate examination of the mother/child narrative, body, etc., and I wonder if this sense of the book’s resistance to the confessional is a result of the way in which the poet pushes the personal to the extreme, so that by pushing the intimate so sort of intensely, repeating it, rubbing the text raw, etc., the personal narrative becomes depersonalized. I liked this effect by the way. At the same time, the book does give us this extremely forthright examination of a specific mother/daughter narrative and is confessional. This combination makes for an interesting dynamic in a book of poems, a tension between the personal and impersonal that is unusual and attractive. So, I wonder if the poet could talk a little about this tension (or at least whether or not she’s interested in exploring it).

I would also just like to hear her discuss the basics: How were the poems selected for this collection? What was the process? Did the fact that the book was going to be translated into English influence this decision? What was the translation experience like for her? How does she approach giving a reading in English with a translator?

10:37 AM  

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