poems to eat

This is a lil' chunkamunka meal of a book, with photographs that I shot while riding on trains and subways across Japan. I was introduced to the poetry of Takuboku Ishikawa by a friend who was helping me translate simple pieces; "this guy," she explained, "writes old man poetry."

Indeed, Takuboku Ishikawa wrote tanka poetry (poems in the 5,7,5,7,7 syllable units), which he dubbed his "sad toys". Born in Iwata-gun, Hinoto-cho in 1886, Ishikawa began a short but rather prominent literary life at the age of 16, making his poetry debut in Myojo magazine. Encouraged, he moved to Tokyo at age 18 to publish his first book of poetry, "Akogare", and later published several major volumes of tanka, including: "Ichiaku no suna" (Handful of Sand) and "Kanashiki gangu" (Sad Toys). About the title of this book, he explains:

'I got the idea for the title "Poems to Eat" from a beer advertisement I used to see in the streetcar. I mean by it poems that are down to earth, poems with feelings unremoved from real life. Not delicasies, not a feast, but poems that taste like our daily meals— poems then, that are necessities to us.'

'poems to eat' is a limited edition of 10 copies of laserprinted images, with letterpress printed text using Universal and Gills Sans typefaces, bound on boards. Photos, design, printing, and binding by Patricia Wakida in 2006, the year of the dog. $100. send me an email at wasabipress@yahoo.com if you're craving.