Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Kat Creighton
Today I received my copies of the We Are All Japan anthology. It is beautifully bound. I noticed it's an Alley Cat Book...a nod to Svetlana perhaps? I have only flipped randomly through the pages, will sit down for a thorough read later tonight. I've seen some very evocative and thoughtful writing. Robert and Sasa, and all the contributors, you've done a beautiful thing for the people of Japan.
Satoru Kanematsu, Assistant Editor of Ko magazine
Dear Ms. Sasa Vazic,
I am writing on behalf of Koko Kato, the editor of Ko Haiku Magazine. We deeply appreciate the project undertaken by you and Mr. Robert D. Wilson, the publication of WE ARE ALL JAPAN, in order to support and encourage the victims of the enormous disaster which hit Japan last year.
We would like to introduce the anthology in the coming issue of our journal. If you allow us to do that, please check the enclosed copy we have prepared from the information obtained on the Internet, and make corrections if necessary.
We are grateful for your long-time kind interest in our magazine. Koko Kato joins me in sending you best regards.
Djurdja Vukelic-Rozic
Yesterday I received ordered copies of the Anthology We Are All Japan! Surprised, indeed! I thought the books will be delivered in July. Thank you Robert and Saša, it's a stunning book which I will cherish.  
Red Slider
I received the anthology and spent yesterday being moved, surprised, outraged (again) and wishing I could read Japanese.
I will have to ask my beloved frannie to piece together what she can of the translations from her 'pigeon katakana'. Ironically, she was also a collateral damage victim of American xenophobia during WWII. Growing up in a small village on Big Island, HI, the military shut down the language schools that her older brothers
and sister attended and her family, like most of the Japanese on the islands, stopped speaking their native language and buried or burned their histories in their backyards fearing they would be accused of some kind of disloyalty for being who they were ("Kapoho -- Memoir of a Modern Pompeii")

In any case, your book is a sacrament ("an exterior visible sign of an interior state of grace.") and I am much enriched for your having worked to bring it to us.

"Shock Cocoon" (http://poems4change.org/Poems/shockcocoon.html)
was my first response to the events in Japan.
I entered it in a large-prize contest, hoping perhaps to raise a little money with it for the tsunami survivors. It didn't even make the first cut, I'm afraid.

There are two other tributaries of the catastrophe which might be of interest. The first came to me from a desire to encourage the poetry communities to engage in more direct action with respect to world events and catastrophe. I imagined how useful it might be if poets/artists/performers of the world could assist in getting the arts communities of N. Coast Japan on their feet and acting in concert with other efforts to help accelerate the recovery of the people and perhaps to aid help them get on their feet and define what rebuilding the future ought to look like. In short, to insure
that the arts and literature of a devastated community got on their feet as quickly as possible and back on the job of lending 'imagination' and creativity to the skill-sets of other first-responders so that recovery and healing could proceed as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately, I don't possess the skill-sets for catalyzing people into action or orchestrating such ideas into a reality. Few responded, and none were willing to pick up the notion of poets/artists/performers as 'first-responders' and make it so.
A tracing of that first attempt can be found at file:///C:/Users/red/Desktop/SA186/poems4change/first-responders/intro.html
The second tributary was a spin-off from that, as I imagined world-class centers of arts&community arising from the ashes of disasters (natural or human-made) that could host/support performances, publication, schools and workshops,
studios and other literary and performance arts events for the survivors of such horrific times. Not only to hasten recovery; but to help that recovery be as healthy
and imaginative as possible - to invent a future more suitable than the hand the past had dealt them. I imagined an early effort in Japan that would set up shop in buildings and store-fronts that had remained standing but were no longer of use to their former tenants. Then, as a phoenix rising, I imagined foundations and world donations contributing funds and perhaps expertise, if invited, toward the construction of a really world-class arts&humanities facility -- something that might confront the sea of sorrows that follows catastrophe with the best and most noble undertakings the world might imagine.

Those were the dreams. My little boat really isn't big enough to negotiate those waters, but I send them along for whatever they may prompt; what ever use they might have.

Thanks for stewarding "We Are All Japan" into existence.
Beate Conrad 

"We Are All Japan" —  Impact of Life

In this recently released anthology, there are many good graphics with powerful impact like the theme-oriented digital manipulated photo-series "Underwater Trilogy" by Stephen Mead.  Excerpt no. 6 (on p. 88) shows an interesting composition, revealing the dynamics between abstract and representative shapes and the change of perspectives, which spark the viewer's imagination.

Quite vivid and nicely executed is the series of "'Shibitachi'-Landscape" in brush and ink by Kris Moon on pp. 22-23.  The view from sea is slowly closing in on the land, focuses on the "Thatched House" before it zooms out again.  Despite the simple, but realistic view of the "Shibitachi Thatched House" right in front, the house seems to be already swallowed up by the sea.  There are no dramatic waves, just this quiet imagery.  How comes this underlying paradox about?  It derives from the changes in the use of white and black, busy and open space within the entire series. Thus this simple, yet well contemplated and linked composition goes beyond the actual depicted and builds a new whole.  It leaves the layers of reality and sudden change to the viewer to explore.  The paintings, the haiku "still ... I wake up / to the singing river / and swaying bamboo", and the name of the place, conveys all the viewer may need.

The well-known haiga-artist Alexis Rotella offers a collage (on page 33).  It is a playful composition of squares and circles, which enable a changing view of many image layers.  For instance, a set table in nature, different landscapes, spiraling waves and/or hares.  All depictions breathe movement; such as movement and growth of the elements and of nature on the whole.  Despite the first idyllic impressions, the viewer experiences the importance of movement with an urgent effect on man himself, to move or to run, too.  Besides, square and circle are considered as ideal form, therefore they carry deeper meaning in Chinese and Japanese worldview and thinking, especially in regard to creation.  This opens an additional view beyond the "usual reading".

On page one, Robert D. Wilson contemplates in a well-manipulated opening photo-haiku (tanka) another relationship of man and nature.  The viewer can easily determine what the special use of space for the elements like clouds and sea indicates.  There may not always be a connecting bridge — connecting to what or to whom? — that safeguards and enlightens man, or is there?  Questions one may keep in mind while reading the book.

This by Sasa Vasic and Robert D. Wilson carefully selected and arranged poetry, with contributions from over hundred haiku-poets and donors from around the world, shows Japanese haiku tradition at its best in a time of need.  Haiku like: "Toshogu shrine pines / I try to stay as still — /mist and dew" by Alan Summers and "after the tsunami / the spring moon reflected / on a floating window" by Verica Zivkovic understand this tradition.  Using direct, clear, and almost understating language, both poems fuse many viewpoints into one poetical view by alluding to (Far)Eastern and Western landscape and literature.

This anthology is meant to be a gift of compassion to the people in Japan.  As a multifaceted documentary in and out of time, it tells about life, about people and "haiku-people"; it tells about the flow and means of information, about upside-down worlds, about how people cope and connect at different times and places.  Looking closely, the presented poetry teaches us something deeper through the unique poetic insight in nature and man expressed in each work.  That is something we are looking for in literature and poetry.  In short, this book is a gift to all people.


  1. How do I get a copy of the anthology? I have a poem, 'Earth, Unearth' by Bharat Shekhar in the Non-Japanese Poetry section.

  2. Here is the link