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2017.07.18 Japanese Fukushima poet wins French poetry prize
A French translation of ‘Shi no Tsubute (Jets de poèmes, Pebbles of Poetry)’, a collection of poetic tweets by Ryoichi Wago, won a newly established French poetry prize on June 10, 2017. ‘Shi no Tsubute’, published by Tokuma Shoten in 2011, was translated into French and published in France by PO & PSY in 2016. At the 2017 Marché de la Poésie (Poetry Market) in Paris, Wago’s collection was selected as the winner of the foreign poetry category in the first NUNC Magazine Poetry Prize.

Born in Fukushima in 1968, Wago has been awarded various literary prizes including the Nakahara Chuya Prize in 1999 and the Bansui Prize in 2006. He was working in Date City, Fukushima Prefecture when the earthquake hit the Tohoku area on March 11, 2011. A few days later on March 16, he began writing poems on Twitter about the state of the stricken area. The poems had a unique style as the letter count was limited to 140. The reality and presence felt in his words soon drew many followers. The compilation of his Twitter feeds was published later that year.

Wago gave a public reading of his poetry at the French Embassy in Tokyo in April 2011, and this led to the translation and publication in France, according to Fukushima Minyu Newspaper, dated June 24, 2017. The translation was done by Corinne Atlan, who has also translated Ogai Mori’s ‘Sansho the Bailiff’ as well as Haruki Murakami’s ‘Kafka on the Shore’. Atlan is giving a public reading of an excerpt from ‘Jets de poèmes’ at the Poetry Weekend in Carnoules.  

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