Festival of Hope 1 / 29 April 2020

MIDNIGHT: Staying Awake To Poetry

Tokyo Poetry Journal & Versopolis present: MIDNIGHT: STAYING AWAKE TO POETRY a Festival of Hope event Taking place Wednesday, April 29 from 22:00 to 0:00 JST, six poets—of Japanese and English language—will read their work virtually via Zoom call. Japanese poets will read in English or Japanese, and English text will be provided. The call will be open to all audience members via an open link, and the livestream will be recorded and posted on Youtube upon its conclusion.

Join us on Zoom


Meeting ID: 959 1647 3498

Password: topojo

Participating poets:

Ryan Dzelzkalns has poems appearing with Assaracus, DIAGRAM, The Shanghai Literary Review, Tin House, Tokyo Poetry Journal, and others. He received an MFA from New York University and a BA from Macalester College where he was awarded the Wendy Parrish Poetry Prize. He has worked for the Academy of American Poets and was recently a Fulbright scholar in Tokyo, where he still lives and works. Read more at RyanDz.com

Michael Frazier is a poet and high school teacher in Kanazawa, Japan. He received his BA from Gallatin at New York University, where he was the 2017 poet commencement speaker and a co-champion of the College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational. He has performed at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Nuyorican Poets Café and the Gallatin Arts Festival, among other venues. A reader for the Adroit Journal and an alumnus of the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop, Michael has poems published or forthcoming in Construction, the Visible Poetry Project, Day One, the Speakeasy Project and elsewhere.

Miki Yuuri 三木悠莉. Born December 31, 1984 in Gunma Prefecture. Grew up surrounded by haiku and modern poetry, thanks to her grandfather who was a teacher, and with all kinds of music, thanks to her father, a classic music fan. Won her first award for haiku from a local newspaper, and after graduation studied apparel and accessory before working seven years in visual merchandising for UNIQLO. Reemerged in 2012, then in 2013, released her first album Hentai (Pervert). Stays involved both as a poet and in a variety of events collaborating with rock bands and “livehouse idols,” and has twice won people’s choice style livehouse idol competitions. Organizer in 2017– 2019 for the legendary Ueno Poetrican Jam, Japan’s biggest poetry event attended by around 2000 poetry fans. Two-time national champion of Poetry Slam Japan (2017, 2018). 

Sakisaka Kujira (向坂くじら) is a poet. Born 1994 in Nagoya Graduate of Keio University’s Department of Literature. Began writing poetry at age five. Stopped attending school at 17. Lost a friend to suicide at 19. Took on the pen name Sakisaka Kujira at 21. As member of a poetry+electric guitar unit Anti-Trench, has performed with the likes of Tanikawa Shuntarō and Itō Seikō. Active as a workshop facilitator, worker in employment assistance services for Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, and has led poetry events in Myanmar, Vietnam, and Serbia. Founder of poetry unit ATTA. 

Xiao Yue Shan is a poet and editor born in Dongying, China and residing in Tokyo. Her chapbook, How Often I Have Chosen Love, was awarded the Frontier Poetry Chapbook Prize. She currently works with Spittoon Literary Magazine, Tokyo Poetry Journal, and Asymptote Journal. Her website is shellyshan.com

Suga Keijiro 管 啓次郎 (b. 1958) is a Tokyo-based poet and critic. He has published ten books of critical essays of which Transversal Journeys (2010) was awarded the Yomiuri Prize for Literature in 2011. Agend’Ars is a series of 16-line poems consisting of 256 pieces. These were published in four separate books from 2010 to 2013 and a Spanish translation appeared in Mexico in 2015. A prolific translator, his translations from French, Spanish, and English into Japanese include works by such authors as Edouard Glissant, J.M.G. Le Clézio, Maryse Condé, Isabelle Allende, Jamaica Kincaid, and Aimee Bender. He teaches critical theory at Meiji University, Tokyo.

Jordan A. Y. Smith is Associate Professor of Inter-cultural Studies & Translation at Josai International University in Tokyo, and Executive Creative Director at Technology Humans And Taste (Japan). He currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of Tokyo Poetry Journal and translates and co-authors with many of Japan's leading poets.


Tokyo Poetry Journal

Tokyo Poetry Journal is a biannual, bilingual literary journal published out of Tokyo, Japan, with a focus on translating and publishing original Japanese poetry, as well as outstanding English-language poetry by poets with a connection to Japan.