Hiroaki Sato

Hiroaki Sato

Hiroaki Sato was born of Japanese parents in Taiwan in 1942; his family fled back to Japan at the end of WWII, and in 1968 he moved to New York, where he has lived ever since. He is the translator of many volumes of Japanese poetry and literature. The president of the Haiku Society of America from 1979 to 1981, Sato received the PEN Translation Prize and the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission Translation Prize twice. He is the author of the books Legends of the Samurai, Snow in a Silver Bowl, and One Hundred Frogs, and from 2000 to 2017 wrote the monthly column “View from New York” for the Japan Times. New Directions also publishes his translation of The Iceland by Sakutaro Hagiwara.

Sato is “perhaps the finest translator of Japanese poetry into American English” (Gary Snyder).

On Haiku

Nonfiction by Hiroaki Sato

Who doesn’t love haiku? It is not only America’s most popular cultural import from Japan but also our most popular poetic form: instantly recognizable, more mobile than a sonnet, and loved for its simplicity and compression, as well as for its ease of composition. Haiku is an ancient literary form seemingly made for the Twittersphere—Jack Kerouac and Langston Hughes wrote them, Ezra Pound and the Imagists were inspired by them, first-grade students across the country still learn to write them.…
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Alice Iris Red Horse

Yoshimasu Gozo’s groundbreaking poetry has spanned over half a century since the publication of his first book, Departure, in 1964. Much of his work is highly unorthodox: it challenges the print medium and language itself, and consequently Alice Iris Red Horse is as much a book on translation as it is a book in translation. Since the late ‘60s, Gozo has collaborated with visual artists and free-jazz musicians. In the 1980s he began creating art objects engraved on copper plates and later produced photographs and video works.…
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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
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The preeminent translator of Japanese poetry in our time—possessed of an unfiltered enthusiasm and spontaneity.

—August Kleinzahler, London Review of Books
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