Autumn 2006

cover image, Autumn 2006 issue
Rexford, NY by Yu Chang

Guest Poet: Fay Aoyagi

The previous six months, during which we have gathered the poems appearing in this issue, have seen us “on the road” about half of the time. While Tai Pan is still our regular meeting place, we have held sessions in Ithaca and Schenectady, NY while giving readings and workshops at Cornell University and Union College, and at various locations in Maine, where most of us took a working vacation in August. Perhaps you will be able to detect some of these activities through the poems in this issue.

We are pleased to be inaugurating a new feature, utilizing the ink brush painting of Romanian poet and artist Ion Codrescu. Ion was our guest poet in 2003. His haiga (a combination of haiku and visual art) are known and admired around the world. This time, he presents a poem by our current guest poet, Fay Aoyagi in haiga form.

There are just a few poets who successfully write haiku for both Japanese and English-language publication. This is an important bridging of a sometimes wide expanse. Fay Aoyagi makes it look easy. While familiar with the traditional uses of kigo (seasonal references) and other elements of Japanese haiku, she makes these things a means of very personal expression, displaying a courage and independence that is rare enough on either side of the Pacific. There is an ethical challenge in Fay’s work. While questioning her own identity, she challenges us to be searchers of ourselves. Sometimes she does this quite directly, but more often it is the subtle interplay of emotions from her Japanese roots and her American life of choice that carries the deepest meaning.


Sample Poems

to add a dinosaur’s egg
Fay Aoyagi

old friends –
sunlight plays
through the leaves

evening calm . . .
the fisherman’s
smoke rings

winter wind
the voice of one tree
after another

outdoor lecture
a sparrow
takes my students away