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Rin Ishigaki, Selected Poems

Rin Ishigaki (1920-2004) is one of the finest poets to have composed verse in twentieth century Japan.  Her no-nonsense, working woman’s approach to life is beautifully represented in her poetry. Her verse, which is rendered into English by the well-known poet and translator Leith Morton, has both a national and international dimension. The international dimension has the poet commenting on the suffering caused both within and without her country by the sad path taken by wartime Japan. The domestic dimension has the poet documenting the difficult lives led by working women like herself whose labour is the main support for her family. Her succinct, powerful verse is widely acknowledged as serving as an inspiration for postwar women poets in Japan.

Rin Ishigaki was born in downtown Tokyo in 1920.  She worked for most of her life as a bank clerk, and the first appearance of her poetry in postwar Japan was in a collection of poetry sponsored by her union. An active unionist and peace advocate, Ishigaki soon established a reputation as a tough-minded poet unafraid to tackle the big issues as well the trials and tribulations of everyday life.

Translated by Leith Morton.

2006. 30pp. ISBN 0 97 515 06 8 5

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