Keijiro Suga is a force of nature, a burst of energy. One minute he’s a poet, the next a translator, then a travel writer, an experimental playwright, a philosopher—all of it carried out across a crazy blur of languages, not all of them human. In this delightful book, some of Japan’s most creative poets, novelists, and translators join with an international group of scholars to offer harmonic counterpoints to Suga’s multilingual melodies. We also get a generous sampling of Suga’s own essays, appearing in English for the first time.
-- Michael K. Bourdaghs, University of Chicago
Poet, translator, essayist, theorist, art critic, environmentalist, peripatetic teacher— all of Keijiro Suga’s varied vocations share the discovery, description, and celebration of the liminal. ‘[A] gateway to other planetary sites of experience,’ as one contributor puts it, here is an encounter with a cosmopolitan cultural icon from Japan whose moment has arrived. In these English renderings of his work, accompanied with essays by some of the literary and critical elite in Japan and elsewhere, what comes across is language on the verge of where it has never gone before: living geographies of islands from New Zealand to Hawai’i to the Caribbean to Japan, where peoples have collided only to creolize over time; an anthropology as concerned with the dog and the coyote as with the human. In person ‘a little shaggy, a little rangy, always on the move’ (like his animals), says volume editor Doug Slaymaker, Suga ‘inhabits the middle space, the no-man’s land, in the spaces between language, people, nations, and goods.’ No one volume, nor any one language, can completely comprehend the array of Suga’s lessons for us. But it is a start.
-- John Whittier Treat, Yale University
Wild Lines and Poetic Travels will remain the original and definitive English-language encounter with the inimitable Japanese poet, essayist, performer, translator, and ecocritic Keijiro Suga. In this book, brilliantly curated essays about Suga’s prolific writings and his global artistic endeavors accompany lovingly crafted translations of his work. It is an astonishing accomplishment of translation in the largest sense, a testament to the powers of language without borders, a book that transports Suga’s elemental, beautiful, nomadic writings into the world of English—at long last.
-- Marilyn Ivy, Columbia University