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Sayaka Ōsaki, Noisy Animal

Translated by Jeffrey Angles

Noisy Animal is the first collection published in English by rising star of Japanese poetry, Sayaka Ōsaki. Expertly and sensitively translated by Yomiuri Award winning poet Jeffrey Angles, Noisy Animal presents an astonishing new voice from the emerging generation of Japanese poets to world poetry.

‘Language is the first disaster that humanity experiences. Language is the violence that we, as people, continue to experience every day. We experience this disaster, this violence, and, yet babies still begin to speak, unable to keep quiet. They repeat somebody else’s words just as they are, reproducing the form of someone else’s experience with disaster.  As a result, I do not know where “this disaster” begins, nor where it ends.’ Sayaka Ōsaki

‘The world of Ōsaki’s poems is underlaid with silence, an eerie quietness that is at once soothing and disturbing. Through this silence, we nonetheless hear an echo of the Great East Asian earthquake and the subsequent tsunami and nuclear disaster which took place in Japan in 2011, at the time Ōsaki was making her debut ... In the poet’s mind, the natural disaster seems to be associated with the very concept of language. The silence in Ōsaki’s poems, however, is also soothing. It reminds us of the deeper silence that existed before this world came into being and that will remain after we are all gone.

Sayaka Ōsaki writes in a simple, everyday language but penetrates the surface of this time and space and reaches the depths of mythology that underlie our ordinary lives. Her poems are personal yet socially relevant at the same time. Among the current generation of young Japanese poets, who tend to be content to remain inside each one’s individual micro-cosmos, she is a unique epic poet, speaking of this world, she writes on her web site, with the senses and body of a “noisy animal”.’ Yotsumoto Yasuhiro

Ōsaki Sayaka has produced diverse collaborations with dancers, musicians, contemporary artists, and other poets and often represents Japan at international literary festivals. In 2016 her first book for children Hey leaf, where is your home? was published. Her second collection, Pointing Impossible (Seidosha, 2014), won the Nakahara Chūya Prize in 2014, and was followed by New Habitat (2018) and Freedom of Dance (2021). Ōsaki has been invited to international festivals in Lithuania (2015), Ecuador (2017), Cuba (2018), and the Netherlands (2019). Some of her poems have been translated into English, Spanish and Lithuanian.

Jeffrey Angles is a poet, translator, and professor of Japanese literature at Western Michigan University.  His collection of original Japanese-language poetry won the Yomiuri Prize for Literature, a rare honor accorded only a few non-native speakers since the award began in 1949. He has translated dozens of translations of Japan’s most important modern authors and poets into English. He also believes strongly in the role of translators as activists and has focused on translating socially engaged, feminist, and queer writers. Among his recent translations is Orikuchi Shinobu’s modernist classic, The Book of the Dead (which won two awards for translation, the Miyoshi Prize and the MLA’s Scaglione Prize) and the feminist writer Itō Hiromi’s long novel The Thorn-Puller.   

Cover painting by Shunsuke Imai. Untitled. Collection of Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, Tokyo.

Ōsaki Sayaka, Noisy Animal
Translated by Jeffrey Angles
August 2023. 148mm x 210mm. 112pp.
ISBN 978-1-925735-48-2

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