New in: Nanao Sakaki – Goodnight Copernicus

Nanao Sakaki - Goodnight CopernicusNew from Counter Culture Chronicles:

Nanao Sakaki – Goodnight Copernicus

Nanao Sakaki (1923-2008) was a Japanese poet and wanderer who was raised in a traditional Japanese family in the Kagoshima Prefecture. After having worked as an errand boy and having been drafted into military service, he moved to Tokyo after WW2, where he did odd jobs and lived in a tunnel near Ueno railway station. Spending all his time reading and studying English in the early 1950s, he moved to Shinjuku in the mid-1950s where he started writing poetry and – through his friendship with a local wood sculptor – developed a profound relationship with the forests of Japan. Sakaki’s poems and his friend’s sculptures were combined in several exhibitions before they parted ways in 1959. Sakaki befriended British writer Neale Hunter, who helped translate some of his poems into English and publish them under the title Bellyfulls in 1961. Hunter introduced American Beat poet, Zen scholar and environmentalist Gary Snyder to the book, who recognised a kindred spirit in Sakaki and looked him up in Tokyo. Snyder’s ensuing friendship with his Japanese counterpart led to an American reprint of Bellyfulls in 1966 and, several years later, to Sakaki’s move to the US, where he wrote and read poetry and explored the wilds on foot for ten years. In his foreword to Sakaki’s 1987 volume Break the Mirror Gary Snyder writes about his friend’s work: “His poems were not written by hand or head, but with the feet. These poems have been sat into existence, walked into existence, to be left here as traces of a life lived for living …”

Read more & order