Are You An Echo? The Lost Poetry of Misuzu Kaneko
(David Jacobson, Sally Ito & Michiko Tsuboi and Toshikado Hajiri)
Chin Music Press
It begins with a very simple question.
Who was Misuzu Kaneko?
For those who are not Japanese and/or who are not familiar with Japanese poetry, this question is exactly what it seems--a simple request. However for those who grew up--perhaps in Japan, perhaps elsewhere- reading Misuzu Kaneko's poems, this question goes deeper.
And thanks to author David Jacobson's clear and heartfelt narrative, this book offers the intricate, fascinating and at times heartbreaking answers.
Jacobson's narrative follows contemporary poet Setsuko Yazaki's quest to learn more about Misuzu Kaneko's life and poetry, seamlessly blending storytelling and biography with samples of Kaneko's poems. Toshikado Hajiri's intricate illustrations add depth to Jacobson's clear descriptions, transforming this book into a touching memorial honoring Kaneko's art and life.
The truths revealed about Misuzu Kaneko's life are at once inspiring and devastating, making her beautiful, lyrical poetry--selections of which are included at the end of the book-- all the more touching and meaningful.
"Are You An Echo?" offers upper elementary readers and beyond a poignant glimpse into Misuzu Kaneko's life, weaving history, Japanese culture, and the joys and challenges of a woman seeking to balance life and art--a not-to-be-missed treasure of a book.