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A seminal figure in modern Japanese literature

Granta

Sakutaro Hagiwara

Sakutaro Hagiwara (1886–1942) is a seminal figure in Japanese literature. He broke traditional poetic forms in favor of a free-verse style mixing literary and everyday diction with intense imagery, deep philosophy, and verbal distortions.


The Iceland

Poetry by Sakutaro Hagiwara

translated by Hiroaki Sato

Hagiwara writes in the preface: “The author’s past life was that of a disconsolate iceberg that drifts and flows in the extreme regions of the northern seas. Above his heart were always the disconsolate clouded skies of the extreme regions, the soulripping winds of the Iceland howling, screaming. He wrote all that painful life and the diary of a real person in these poems.”

The Hirose River flows white.
Time passes and all illusions must fade away