RITSUO OKADA: OVER THE WAVE
edited and translated by Tadashi Kondo & William J. Higginson
From Here Press
PO. Box 1402
ISBN 0 89120 102 5
$12 [Canada $16; Japan ¥1500]
[by post +$2.50; $3; ¥300]
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This page last updated: 11th December 2007.
|RITSUO OKADA: OVER THE WAVE|
Ritsuo Okada is now in his late seventies and brings to his haiku that sure touch that only talent and time can achieve. This collection is a mixture of Okada's indigenous poems and those written when on his extensive travels. Of course these are translations and, it can be assumed, some of the poems would evoke even more in their original tongue. Perhaps the all autumn haiku —
waiting for the moon... the tide has come in on Lake Michiganwould have more to it in Japanese. Having said that, there are few poems in this fine collection that warrant any negative criticism, and the translators, Tadashi Kondo and William J. Higginson, have, I assume, served the poet well. Another haiku with Lake Michigan as its location creates a stronger impression:
wild asters bend low on the shore of Lake Michigan ruins of a fortHow poignant is his late spring haiku —
drifting with necks buried in their wings the remaining ducksAnd again —
blazing sun ... by a whorehouse the deep rutis a brilliantly fielded image, that achieves both a surface of humour and the magnitude of human frailty and sadness that lies beneath it.
OVER THE WAVE is a splendid collection, full of perceptive writing by a deeply sentient poet; there is no overblown cliché or three-line doggerel here. Highly recommended.
|reviewer: Michael Bangerter.|