The SPL’s regular podcast host Sam Tongue chats with translator Norman Angus, a long time resident of Japan, about the unique challenges of translating Japanese poetry into English and Scots.
Hagiwara Sakutaro is a poet Norman is passionate about bringing to the attention of the English-speaking world. Sakutaro wrote free verse, which, at the time, was revolutionary and liberatory, in a Japan where poetry followed strict rules. In an introduction to his Early Poems, Norman summed up Sakutaro’s influence:
‘Hagiwara Sakutaro (1886-1942) more than any other individual determined the direction which modern Japanese poetry was to take… Such was the depth of his influence that today it would be hard to name a Japanese poet whose own work has not felt that influence’.
Sakutaro, who led a Bohemian life, and whose work was initially banned, is often called the Japanese Baudelaire, and is widely considered ‘the father of modern colloquial poetry in Japan’.
In this extended Nothing But The Poem podcast Norman Angus introduces, reads, and discusses with Sam Tongue a selection of work by Sakutaro.