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A portrait of the poet as a child

By David Burleigh
The Japan Times

takahashi_twelveThis remarkable book is an autobiography of childhood, written by the poet Mutsuo Takahashi (born 1937) when he was 32, and issued in 1970, although its separate chapters had appeared as a series of essays in a magazine the year before.

Translated now for the first time, it greatly enhances our understanding of both the man and his work.

Besides poems in the usual anthologies, separate volumes of Takahashi’s poetry have also been rendered into English, notably by Hiroaki Sato. One of these, “Poems of Penisist” (translated by Sato in 1975), has been reprinted by the same press as the autobiography. The frank homoerotic celebration in the early poetry has been compared to Walt Whitman, was admired by Yukio Mishima, and finds it origins in the story of the poet’s life, yet is by no means all that this new book contains.

Read the full article.