Takashi Hiraide was born in Moji, Kitakyushu in 1950. He has published numerous books of poetry as well as several books of genre-bending essays, including one on poetics and baseball. He has also written a novel, A Guest Cat; a biography of Meiji poet Irako Seihaku; and a travelogue that follows the traces of Kafka, Celan, and Benjamin in Berlin. His poetry book, Postcards to Donald Evans, is published by the Tibor de Nagy Foundation. Hiraide is a professor of Art Science and Poetics as well as a core member of the new Institute for Art Anthropology at Tama Art University. For the Fighting Spirit of the Walnut won the 2009 Best Translated Book Award for poetry.
A New York Times bestseller and winner of Japan’s Kiyama Shohei Literary Award, The Guest Cat (by the acclaimed poet Takashi Hiraide) is a subtly moving and exceptionally beautiful novel about the transient nature of life and idiosyncratic, but deeply felt, ways of living. A couple in their thirties live in a small rented cottage in a quiet part of Tokyo; they work at home, freelance copyediting, and no longer have very much to say to one another. But one day a cat invites itself into their small kitchen. It leaves, but the next day comes again, and then again and again. Soon they are buying treats for the cat and enjoying talks about the animal and all its little ways. Life suddenly seems to have more promise for the husband and wife — the days have more light and color. The novel brims with new small joys and many moments of staggering poetic beauty, but then something happens...
The radiant subway. The wall that clears up, endless. A thundering prayer of steel that fastens together the days, a brush of cloud hanging upon it, O beginning, it is there—your nest. Thus the keynotes of Hiraide’s utterly original book-length poem unfold—a mix of narrative, autobiography, minute scientific observations, poetics, rhetorical experiments, hyper-realistic images, and playful linguistic subversions—all scored with the precision of a mathematical-musical structure.