Litmus Press
Belladonna* Books
Original Language(s)
Additional Credits
Cover art by Kenjiro Okazaki, Design by E. Tracy Grinnell and erica kaufman, with the assistance of Sawako Nakayasu
Anthology, Poetics, Poetry, Translation
Edition, Year
First Edition, 2006
In Print

This revolutionary volume of work by Kiriu Minashita, Kyong-Mi Park, Ryoko Sekiguchi, and Takako Arai represents a distinctive bilingual anthology dedicated to women working in modern, experimental, cross-cultural poetry milieus. Published collaboratively by Belladonna* Books and Litmus Press in honor of the 2006 Festival of Contemporary Japanese Women Poets with support by NYSCA.

Cole Swensen
Cole Swensen has published 17 volumes of poetry, most recently On Walking On (Nightboat Books, 2017). Art in Time, a collection of hybrid lyric writings on landscape art, is coming out from Nightboat in 2021. The author ... Read More
Ryoko Sekiguchi
Ryoko Sekiguchi was born in 1970 in Tokyo, and has lived in Paris since 1997. Her books in Japanese include Cassiopeia Peca (1993), (com)position (1996), Diapositives Luminescentes Read More
Takako Arai
Takako Arai was born in 1966 in Kiryu City, Gunma Prefecture to a family involved in textile manufacturing, a major industry in Kiryu. Her first book, Hao Bekki, was published in 1997, and her ... Read More
Sawako Nakayasu
Sawako Nakayasu is an artist working with language, performance, and translation – separately and in various combinations. She has lived mostly in the U.S. and Japan, briefly in France and China, and translates ... Read More
Kiriu Minashita
Kiriu Minashita was born in Kanagawa Prefecture in 1970. Since beginning her poetic activities around the year 2000, she has come to be acknowledged as one of the representative poets of the "00 generation." After receiving the Gendaishitecho ... Read More
Kyong-Mi Park
Kyong-Mi Park was born in 1956 and is a second-generation Korean living and writing in Tokyo. Since publishing her first book of poetry Supu (Soup) in 1980, she has continued ... Read More

Four From Japan is a studied glimpse into the writing of four contemporary Japanese women poets. It does not aspire or attempt to do the work of representing or encompassing contemporary Japanese (or Japanese women’s) poetry in its entirety. Instead, according to primary translator Sawako Nakayasu… this is “a poetry by women that does not fit into a prescribed category of women’s writing.”

— Steven Karl, Coldfront


Praise for Four from Japan

Litmus and Belladonna have produced a gorgeous volume…. [T]he collection presents a perspective on Japanese poetry in its contemporary situation and on the tradition these poems rise out of and/or against… The collection also reminds me that the most daring poems do not experiment merely for the sake of innovation: they innovate so we may discover.

— Matthew Henriksen, The Poetry Project Newsletter

Four From Japan showcases a diverse and reflective body of Japanese verse and other writings that is strongly recommended reading, a seminal addition to academic library poetry collections, and a welcome contribution to Japanese Cultural Studies supplemental reading lists.

Midwest Book Review

Kiriu Minashita, Kyong-Mi Park, Ryoko Sekiguchi, and Takako Arai… concern themselves with the elasticity of language and the variation of form—at the very least, the poems are all activation and possibility. They are borrowers. They unmask plural complications. For none of these poets want you to have a singular idea of “Japan,” “Japanese-ness,” or “poetry.” The anthology allows its reader to explode one’s own conceptions and definitions and explore beyond the familiar… Four From Japan: Contemporary Poetry & Essays by Women is one of the best anthologies I’ve encountered because the book shows a practice of de-centralization instead of map-making and canon-formation. The works are presented in translation and in Japanese; they provide writing by the poets in both lines and in prose; and they all interlock and complicate one another without presenting a narrow view of what Japanese poetry by women can be.

— John Rufo, Ploughshares

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