Submission by: Assoc. Prof. Tomoko Aoyama
Internationally acclaimed Japanese poet Hiromi Itō is one of Japan’s most important highly regarded poets working today, having won a number of prestigious literary awards since her poetry debut in late 1970s. Born in Tokyo, Itō travelled extensively to the USA, and eventually moving there in the 1990s, where she worked exploring new genres and subject matter for over two decades . In recent years, Itō has returned to Japan, where she is currently working as a Professor of literature at the prestigious Waseda University.
She has appeared in numerous international poetry festivals, conferences and workshops, and will be giving a keynote lecture/poetry reading at the School of Languages and Cultures at the University of Queensland, as part of the conference “Crossing Boundaries: Languages, Culture and Migration” which is to be held in November.
Itō has recently added two more literary prizes to her already long and impressive list of awards. Taneda Santōka Award was established last year by the major literary publisher, Shun’yōdō, in order to celebrate their 140th anniversary. The Award is named after the free verse haiku poet Santōka (1882-1940), and given to artists whose unshakable convictions have deeply moved their audience. Itō was selected for her prolific publications of poetry, essays, and fiction, as well as her advice on life columns.
The day after the announcement of Itō’s Taneda Santōka Award, a popular Japanese women’s magazine called éclat announced that its prize for “literature for women, selected by women” was to be awarded to Itō’s collection of essays, Tasogarete yukuko-san (Ms Gloaming, 2018).
One of the characteristics of Itō’s writing, both verse and prose, is the prominence of corporeality, especially that of women’s bodies and their physicality at various stages of life, including: puberty; pregnancy; breastfeeding; and menopause. Ms Gloaming deals with various life issues women face at postmenopausal (i.e. ‘gloaming’) stage, with Itō’s characteristic warm and frank humour and poetry.
If you would like to learn more about The “Crossing Boundaries: Languages, Culture and Migration” Symposium where Hiromi Itō will give her much anticipated keynote speech, please visit: https://languages-cultures.uq.edu.au/event/session/5306 for more information.
To commemorate Ito Hiromi’s poetry reading event at UQ, Books Kinokuniya Australia is offering a special 20% discount for online purchase of five of Ito’s books until 8 December 2019. Please click the link here to view the selection.