Cover Image

Larger ImageView Larger

Forest of Eyes

Selected Poems of Tada Chimako, Translated from the Japanese

Chimako Tada (Author), Jeffrey Angles (Translator), Jeffrey Angles (Introduction)

Available worldwide

Paperback, 176 pages
ISBN: 9780520260511
August 2010
$34.95, £27.00
Other Formats Available:
One of Japan’s most important modern poets, Tada Chimako (1930–2003) gained prominence in her native country for her sensual, frequently surreal poetry and fantastic imagery. Although Tada’s writing is an essential part of postwar Japanese poetry, her use of themes and motifs from European, Near Eastern, and Mediterranean history, mythology, and literature, as well as her sensitive explorations of women’s inner lives make her very much a poet of the world. Forest of Eyes offers English-language readers their first opportunity to read a wide selection from Tada’s extraordinary oeuvre, including nontraditional free verse, poems in the traditional forms of tanka and haiku, and prose poems. Translator Jeffrey Angles introduces this collection with an incisive essay that situates Tada as a poet, explores her unique style, and analyzes her contribution to the representation of women in postwar Japanese literature.
Translator’s Acknowledgments
Note on the Translation


From Fireworks (1956)
From The Gladiator’s Arena (1960)
From Universe of the Rose (1964)
From The Town of Mirrors, or Forest of Eyes (1968)
From A False Record of Ages (1971)
From The Four-Faced Path (1975)
From A Spray of Water: Tanka (1975)
From Lotophagi (1980)
From Ceremonial Fire (1986)
From Along the Riverbank (1998)
From The Land of the Long River (2)
From A Souvenir of Wind: Haiku (2003)
From Upon Breaking the Seal (2004)
From Person of the Playful Sta: Tanka (2005)

Translator’s Notes
Selected Works
Index of Titles and First Lines
The writing of Tada Chimako (1930-2003) is crucial to understanding modern Japanese poetry although her work is situated outside the poetic mainstream. A solitary visionary, Tada is uniquely admired in Japan for her poems, essays, and translations. Withdrawing to Kobe after the publication of her first collection, she spent most of her life close to nature, far from Tokyo, Japan’s literary epicenter. Writing poetry in both traditional Japanese forms and Western free verse and prose poetry, Tada is known as a poet of intellect and erudition but also as one of sensuality and emotion. Jeffrey Angles is Associate Professor at Western Michigan University. He is coeditor, with J. Thomas Rimer, of Japan: A Traveler’s Literary Companion. He has won translation grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the PEN Club of America.
“At its best, literary translation offers something that was not there before. Angles has given readers a major poet not previously apparent in English. His translation will have the honor of leading a generation of new readers to discover the work of Tada Chimako.”—Charles Martin American Poet
“With his comprehensive selection and translation of Tada Chimako’s works, Jeffrey Angles has made an excellent contribution to Japanese scholarship in the West, giving readers access to her versatility in form and style, and the solitary, imaginative world that constitutes the essence of all that she wrote. . . . a unique and most welcome publication.”—Yasuko Claremont Japanese Studies
“Tada Chimako (1930–2003) is considered one of Japan’s most important modern poets. Chimako’s extraordinary imagery is reflected in this wide-ranging collection of her work, which explores women’s sensuality and emotion. This is the first English translation of her work and includes translated and traditional Japanese versions of haiku and tanka.”—Foreword Footnotes
“The three [volumes] together form the finale to a singular body of poetry that has been finely chosen, sensitively introduced and admirably translated by Jeffrey Angles in this selection.”—Japan Times
“All in all this book provides a well-rounded look at an important modern Japanese poet.”—Translation Review
“With its careful annotations and notes, this work should serve scholars of contemporary literature very well, but it should also appeal to a wider audience of poetry lovers everywhere”.—Journal Of Asian Stds
"Tada Chimako was one of the few overtly intellectual modern Japanese poets, but she donned her erudition with lightness and humor. She was also one of the few who went beyond the realm of "free verse" and tried the traditional forms of tanka and haiku, even occasionally using rhymes. Jeffrey Angles brings across Tada's distinct voice and approach with elegance and skill in his translations, making her poems come alive."—Hiroaki Sato

"Marvelous. An important introduction to modern Japanese literature for the English-reading world."—Liza Dalby, author of Geisha

"Up until now, a few translations in scattered sources have suggested something of the range and depth of the poetry of Tada Chimako; now, this new and extensive collection of translations by Jeffrey Angles reveals an astonishing talent, confirming for readers everywhere the respect and admiration which Japanese readers have long felt for this body of work. Hers is a poetry of that possesses a virtual tactile energy, moving across time and space, absorbed in nature, glancing at the literary heritage of the world (in particularly those of Japan, China, France, and ancient Greece), as well experimenting with literary form (modern verse, tanka, and haiku). All this is accomplished with an astonishing grace and a spiritual fastidiousness, as serene as a mathematic equation. In these limpid and elegant translations, Mr. Angles proves himself at the forefront of his generation in his skill at gently and firmly moving this elegant poetry from one language to another. With this collection, postwar Japanese poetry seems suddenly, wonderfully, different, and truly enriched."—J. Thomas Rimer, co-editor, The Columbia Anthology of Modern Japanese Literature

The Harold Morton Landon Translation Award, Academy of American Poets

Japan - U. S. Friendship Commission Prize for the Translation of Japanese Literature, Donald Keene Center of Japanese Culture, Columbia University

Join UC Press

Members receive 20-40% discounts on book purchases. Find out more