There was a big turnout at Manning Clark House in Canberra last Friday night (October 14) for the launch of Poems to Wear: from Japan and Australia (available from Ginninderra Press). Amelia Fielden led the proceedings and Dr Carol Hayes from the Department of East Asian Studies at ANU gave a knowledgeable and entertaining address in officially launching the book.
The first part of Poems to Wear provides translations of tanka and haiku by contemporary Japanese poets. Each of the poems makes reference to elements of Japanese dress: either traditional or Western. The commentary by Noriko Tanaka provides wonderful insights into the customs and culture associated with traditional, and modern, Japanese dress.
The second half of the book offers tanka and haiku by a host of contemporary Australian poets. Sometimes thought-provoking, sometimes humorous, these poems gradually progress from referencing hats and scarves, through coats, vests and pants all the way to socks and shoes. My two haiku in the collection were at each end of the spectrum: one about a hat, the other about socks.
The night also included the launch by PS Cottier of, Colouring In, a tanka collection by Amelia Fielden and Gerry Jacobson from Australia and Genie Nakano and Neal Whitman from the United States.
The crowd was entertained by musical items featuring shakuhachi, piano and flute.