Araki Yasusada

Araki Yasusada was a non-existent Japanese poet, generally thought (though unverified) to be the creation of American literature professor Kent Johnson. The publication of Yasusada’s poetry by major literary journals including the American Poetry Review, Grand Street and Conjunctions during the early 1990s created an embarrassing scandal for these publications.

Araki Yasusada was supposedly a survivor of the Hiroshima atom bomb. He was born in 1907, attended Hiroshima University (before it was even founded, in 1949), worked in the postal service, and was conscripted into the Japanese army during World War II. He died of cancer in 1972. His son discovered his poems and notebooks and in 1991 they began to appear in print in the United States.

The ‘notebooks’ included editorial comments, smudged ink and illegible text, and other elaborate attempts to give the appearance of authenticity. They also included hints leading to their own unravelling, however, such as references to poets who probably would not be known to Japanese poets of the period and anachronistic references to such things as scuba divers.

The real writer of the poems is widely believed to be Kent Johnson, professor of Highland Community College in Freeport, Illinois, though he has never claimed authorship. Beliefs about Johnson’s role as author stem in no small part from the fact that Johnson edited the Yasusada texts for the Wesleyan University Press. Johnson also included Yasusada’s poetry in his doctoral dissertation.

The texts that had been published in the poetry journals were sent to various academics from a variety of locations, presenting Yasusada as an invented persona that was used by one or more people who intended the keep the origin of the texts secret.

Johnson admitted to some critics that Yasusada was nothing but an invented pseudonym “somebody” used to conceal the writer’s origin. Some editors, who asked Johnson who the real writer was, claim to have received different answers. One response was that the real writer was “Tosa Motokiyu,” one of the three “Japanese translators” — or at least, 95 percent of the poems were his, the rest being Johnson’s older work, which Motokiyu had requested to include in his Yasusada fiction. Johnson continued to lecture on Yasusada and denied the hoax in interviews. At one stage he claimed that Motokiyu asked Johnson to take credit for the poems before Motokiyu’s death. Yet elsewhere he said that Motokiyu’s name was yet another pseudonym.

There were a number of rumors about other supposed co-authors, including the leading avant-garde Mexican composer, Javier Alvarez, who appears as co-editor of the work with Johnson. Publishers demanded their money back and criticized the hoax. Wesleyan cancelled the publication of the poetry collection. Some critics noticed that Johnson had published similar poetry in 1986 under the name of Ogiwara Miyamori, in Ironwood magazine.

After the 'hoax’ was discovered, several journals rejected previously accepted poems. The hoax has allegedly been called “a criminal act” by Arthur Vogelsang, editor of American Poetry Review, which had previously published a special supplement of Yasusada poems, including an alleged portrait of the author, but in letters to the Boston Review he denied having used the phrase.[1] But numerous critics were supportive, praising both the conceptual nature of the fiction and the quality of the writing, including Roof Books that published the entire text in 1997.

Sometimes even my face is a surprise.
I walk out happy, but someone comes up
on the street and asks what’s wrong.
I think of last night’s dream:

my father alive again at the table,
a baby crying, pages falling from the sky
like rain, and then like leaves
needing to be raked, put in order.
I can see which way the signs point,
but who would want to go there?
—  from “Burials”, Susan Ludvigson 
so I will hold onto the pieces of you
that I’ve carefully tucked away.
it hurts to miss you,
but that’s better than letting you go.
—  by shelby leigh

To be so graphically alive //

Droplets of your
White teeth smiles
Curls and four eyes
Ripple in my lymph

/I can give you
Warm blood
On warm blood/

Though there are shadows,
Can hips move innocently ?
Though mine are over stretched,
Can eyes open more widely ?

//I will try


Here’s a small piece I penned down just a few minutes back! 


A melange of varying decibels and trains of thought,

that echo, express, indoctrinate, and inspire,

wafting languidly through the air as they resonate,

alter, manifest and settle in the dust-

changing the every living nuance.

Its intricacy and foundation is the beginning and the end-

the premise of peace, war, and suffering.

Its sheer gamut is the pivot of history-

the progression of mankind,

and the epoch of doctrines.

It is wielded by the dictator,

his voice the the vehicle of public desire.

And is the essence of the world of letters-

the momentary world of the girl with her nose buried in the book.

Its secrets lie in the mystical rhymes of the books,

while its carriers preach its content.

They sometimes even threaten to warp the bonds of love and friendship,

and crumble that they have known for so long.

Yes,  I have seen a million authors. 

PoeTrex Reviews / the princess saves herself in this one

(Goodreads Review): Does exactly what it says on the tin.

I’d call it unputdownable except that I had to put it down at one point. The intensity and power of this collection is hard to convey because no single poem does it justice—it acts as a whole. It slays you and grows on you, falling and rising from crushing nadir to life-affirming apogee. Come prepared with tissues and perhaps a comforting hot beverage of your choice.

Seriously, if you can read this book front to cover and NOT be bawling by the end wanting to hold your loved ones tight, there is something pathologically wrong with you. And I’m not saying that to be mean. You should seek counseling.

It’s a heck of a debut, brilliant, an epic journey. Whether you are a trauma survivor, or have lived a sheltered life, it manages to be both unfathomably distant and immediately relateable.

Just get the gosh durn book already!

* * *

I voted for @ladybookmad in the 2016 Goodreads Choice Awards’ nominations for Poetry. Full disclosure: reppin’ the T-dub-C may have been a factor in my decision-making process, not having read any of the other contestants, but my vote and my five stars are no less deserved.

Call For Submissions

Calling all bi, pan, poly and queer folks! We’re currently accepting submissions for articles, opinion pieces, poetry, reviews, interviews, comics and recipes. We pay all contributors for original, previously unpublished content. For more information, email us at bitopiamagazine@gmail.com.

Transmission from Inner Space

I am alive. Do you hear me? I am alive. Let me put a megaphone to my chest as my heart beats morse code for every stupid thing I’ve ever considered doing to silence it. Let me cut through the carapace of my skull and show you that my head is really filled with cotton, a placeholder, and that everything you do or say or scream or yell gets routed straight from my eyes or ears and into my heart, into my viscera, into the only place I feel comfortable living. Sometimes, when I do manage to sleep, my mind’s periscope eye vomits unspeakable images in my direction: dad is killing mom, drunken hands in church basements. But I’m growing into a thing of knowledge. I know things. I know that the world is a dusty box of probabilities carried by a man with dirty whiskers who can’t find his reading glasses. I know that adolescence is a ball of mercury we hold in our hands, rolling it around, trying to make out the smudged contours of the reflected individual staring back into us. I know we gaze into the paper sky as if gazing into a crystal ball instead of writing our names into its interminable book. Your name is not your name. You are what you do, the pronouncements of your heart: “Breakfast in Bed was here,” “T-Ball loves Bird Watching.” Sometimes when I breathe too deeply, I taste my father’s disappointment on my tongue. But look at that sun, man. It seems to hold. It seems to touch. It seems to say, “You are my child, freed from all that ever could bind you.”

-j. altamore

Poem Analysis : I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

Maya Angelou is a very gifted poet. Her style in many poems is formal and serious, yet in some it is playful and joyous. 

3 Examples of Figurative Language Found In This Poem :

1. “caged bird” (metaphor) refers to someone whom isn’t free, who does not have the liberty to do things others can.

2. “But a bird that stalks, down his narrow cage can seldom see through his bars of rage" (personification) the bars of the cage represent rage, rage of the captive bird, wanting to be set free but cannot due to the fact people are keeping them trapped, a reason the bird feels angry, rage. Angelou uses this to say that rage with prohibit you from doing certain things, hence the fact the bird is in his cage.

3. ” The caged bird sings with fearful trill” (imagery) states that the caged bird continues to sing, although fearful of what events may occur. Angelous purpose of this phrase, seems to me, that it is used to represent someone who lacks freedom, yet still proceeds to be happy.

Tone, Mood, And Theme :

Tone : Angelous tone in this poem seems to me, depressing, yet positive. She talks about how the caged bird sings of freedom, and I feel she is trying to express that maybe, the caged bird will be set free one day.

Mood : The mood this poem sets is confusion. Angelou writes about a free bird and a caged bird, one is a daring bird (or person) and one is a bird that is kept captive, that cannot be free, yet still the caged bird sings of freedom.

Theme : The theme of this poem, I think, is how some people (the birds) can be kept captive over something small, yet judged everywhere, whilst others can get away with things and people will overlook it.

Favorite Quotes :

1. "But a bird that stalks, down his narrow cage can seldom see through his bars of rage." This part of the poem makes me think that, if you are angered and feel rage, that you trap yourself in a cage, and cannot let yourself free unless you let those feelings go.

2. “The caged bird sings with fearful trill” This quote makes me feel that, although the bird is trapped, and has no freedom, it will continue to sing. It’ll sing with a fearful tone, one that sounds as if it is afraid of what may occur.

The British filmmaker Terence Davies has often told stories about women trapped in the rigid customs of an earlier era, including The House of Mirth, The Deep Blue Sea and Sunset Song. With his new film, A Quiet Passion, the writer-director turns his attention to a real-life subject, the poet Emily Dickinson. Film critic Justin Chang says

“For most of the movie, Dickinson is played by Cynthia Nixon, who gives a brilliant performance of steely wit, but also surprising vulnerability. As she moves through the sunny gardens and lamp-lit drawing rooms of 19th-century Amherst, Massachusetts, Nixon’s Emily rebukes every reductive image we have of her as a dour, reclusive spinster. She is, on the contrary, a brilliant conversationalist and a lover of good company. She is also a gifted poet, who spends the wee hours of the morning lost in her writing, making what will one day be hailed as a monumental contribution to American literature.

She does this with the permission of her father, played by Keith Carradine, who is both enchanted and exasperated by his daughter’s razor-sharp mind and ungovernable spirit. The scenes of the Dickinsons together at home, beautifully filmed by the cinematographer Florian Hoffmeister, are a delight, even the ones that roil with tension. You understand that this is a household where both religious devotion and intellectual freedom have been nurtured and allowed to coexist. Written and directed by the British filmmaker Terence Davies, A Quiet Passion creates an inner world that, for all its rigid social and personal constraints, feels alive with the possibilities of language. The formal dialogue, with its stately, mannered rhythms, becomes a kind of music. Simply listening to it can be bewildering at first, then absorbing, then transfixing. Its purpose, in line with the highest ideals of poetry itself, is to clear the mind and stir the soul.”

I wish I knew how it felt to have people fall at my feet,
to have people trace my footsteps with rose petals
or somebody that cares enough,
to raise an umbrella over my hair in showers
and shower me with happiness.
I wish I knew what it was to feel wanted,
to be viewed with rose tinted glasses
that blur every harsh line and smooth every mistake.
They tell me love is beautiful, divine and simple
the first sun-kissed breath of tropical air,
watching the flames of a campfire crackle against the night sky.
But it is all an illusion and love always renders them broken
so, I act like I understand
and I sweep the jagged pieces into my hands.
They always end up insomniacs,
convulsive whispers to the bottom of the glass
or clutching bottles and asking me why their love died
as though I would know the answer.
—  a wish I do not want


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hi guys! i made this studyblr to motivate me for senior high school. i’ve been following a lot of studyblrs for the past year and i decided to join the community. i feel that i will be a better student when exposed to such amazing people :-)

studygram: hannhstudies

studyblrs that inspired me to finally make one

@studywithinspo @studyquill @focusign @studyign @emmastudies @sadgirlstudying @delthenerd @lycheestudy @scholarly @bookmrk @juliasacads @bluelahe

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