PEOPLEText: Ayumi Yakura

You published the first essay collection “Senrei (baptismal) Diary” this year. Especially one based on your unpleasant experience of being asked by a man “if you have sex, you can write poems” has been a big topic on SNS.

Since I’m a woman, I’m interested in issues by being a woman. But such things actually happened to me, I started writing about them. I bet that there are so many women keep regretting for responding nicely to men who come up with rude questions although they feel uncomfortable. Quite often, a fair argument of “you should say something at the point” doesn’t really work. I also feel weird swallowing my words, so I write hoping that I can find a way to organize my feelings in my own way.

“Senrei (baptismal) Diary” (POPLAR Publishing Co., Ltd.)

When men flatter women, some women create a wall themselves thinking that “men never understand.” But when I hear that some men think they might be one of those appear in my essay or agree in my opinion of “men might feel ill at ease for not having a way out in this society,” I felt calm. I discovered that people enjoy my work if I can express my feelings with appropriate words, and this would be a good experience for my future works.

Do you think there are differences between poem and essay collection in term of telling messages even if they sometime share the same topics?

I think so. Poems are better to provide sharpness and surprises, but essays includes elements of story telling which explain process of words that are condensed in a poem. I always enjoy reading fictions since I was little. I’ve been wanted to write the feeling that the world seems different before and after reading stories, so I wrote these essays hoping that readers would accept them as stories.

The third collection “Our Cat” (Nanarokusha Publishing)

Love is a theme for your third collection published in this November?

In addition to poems from a web series of poems about love that Nanarokusha offered, I included poems from my radio show and originals just for this collection. I thought it’ll be interesting to put a collection together with a keyword of “love” but not limited to love poems. To me, “love romance” is not an ordinary theme. But the relationship of “you and me” is the strongest part that love romance magnet works.

The title for my third collection is “Our Cat.” There is a title piece with a following setting: “One cat lives in a person’s heart. / It constantly searches an owner. / Since taking care of myself is quite difficult, / everyone curls up their tails, / and live their life as if they were a human.” For love romance, it may simply “you and me.” But this poem implies the mellow image of finding myself in others like finding a cat like mine in you .

“Moon Trio” Yumi Fuzuki (Poem Reading), Yuko Takayama (Illustration), Yukari Karato (Song and guitar), 2015, Hazuki Hall House. Photo: Mizuho Fukahori

What are you planning on doing as a poet?

I’d like to keep working on collaboration especially with musicians. I want to stream or sell my readings since I think that music is the best format to keep, expand audiences and be accepted. Also, music has a high affinity with reading, so I feel that reading will be more attractive combining with music.

Also, I’d like to get more opportunities to do readings in my hometown, Sapporo. It would be nice to collaborate with local musicians at bookstores, art galleries and cafe. I’d like to express myself or do works that fit the places.

Text: Ayumi Yakura
Translation: Yumiko Miyagawa

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