by Sakutaro Hagiwara (Japan)
Translated from the Japanese by Hiroaki Sato
(New York Review Books)
Cat Town offers a priceless introduction to perhaps the most influential poet of early twentieth century Japan. Hiroaki Sato has translated in full Hagiwara’s enormously popular first two volumes of poetry, described by the poet himself in a not merely self-aggrandizing manner as epoch-making and hailed by critics for their experiments with symbolism. With the addition of a judicious selection of later works, Sato gives the reader a sense of the poet’s development over his entire career. The inclusion of the original prefaces to Hagiwara’s volumes, in which he describes his view of poetry, plus a wonderful opening essay by the translator that explores Hagiwara’s biography and early experiments in lyrical form, greatly aids the understanding of this sometimes difficult poet and also offers fascinating insight into the choices made during the translation process. This is an exemplary edition of a major modernist poet.
The Lucien Stryk Asian Translation Prize recognizes the importance of Asian translation for international literature and promotes the translation of Asian works into English. Lucien Stryk was an internationally acclaimed translator of Japanese and Chinese Zen poetry, renowned Zen poet himself, and former professor of English at Northern Illinois University. Information about the prize is available on the ALTA website. Judges for the 2015 Lucien Stryk Asian Translation Prize are Lucas Klein, Janet Poole, and Stephen Snyder.
The award-winning book and translator for 2015 will be announced on October 28th at the 38th annual conference of the American Literary Translators Association in Tucson, AZ and receive a $5,000 award. Information on the conference is available online: www.literarytranslators.org/alta38