Proust’s Haiku

Proust’s Haiku

Lydia Davis says that while translating the first volume of Proust she began to notice “how he was incorporating alexandrines into his sentences or building parallel structures, with liberal use of assonance and alliteration…” As a result,...
The End of the Budding Grove

The End of the Budding Grove

We finished Proust Volume Two. We all laughed out loud when Marcel tried to kiss Albertine, his head swelled to contain the whole universe and then some. We loved the faces changing over time, successions of selves, faces viewed by other selves, how the girls are the...
Grains of Sand

Grains of Sand

I went for a long walk yesterday and when I got back a very heavy box was sitting at the foot of our mailbox. I assumed it must be for Anthony. Some new rocks for his aquariums?  But then I saw the label from Yaguchi Shoten, a used bookstore in Tokyo’s Jinbochō...
Loofah Day

Loofah Day

the loofah gourd blooms while he chokes to death on phlegm a buddha   Hechima saite / tan no tsumarishi / hotoke kana 糸瓜咲て痰のつまりし仏かな This is one of three poems which Masaoka Shiki scrawled on sheets of paper he used for painting just before he died at around 2 in...
A Wreath of Cloud

A Wreath of Cloud

My copy of Arthur Waley’s translation of the Tale of Genji is the single-volume Modern Library Edition from 1960 and it’s falling apart. I’m teaching it this semester so I was poking around on abebooks.com the other day looking for a used copy in better shape. Waley’s...