Kyoto Journal Issue 29


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Words for the 24 Seasons of Japan
Kototama: The Language of the Gods
Word-Roots & Language Trees
Gary Snyder on Language
Interview with Poet Tada Chimako

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Which came first: the ability to speak, or the need to say something? What came first, of course, was silence.

For the very first word ever spoken, nearly a million years ago, the preparations had been profound. Over eons, the vocal apparatus had moved up in the throat; and the jaw, oral cavity, muscles and tissue had evolved, to enable the fine nuances we now use to differentiate so glibly among all the things we’ve come to name from silence.

For far the greater part of human history, words were only spoken; most of our ancestors never saw one. Writing came only yesterday, the printing press an hour ago, word processing just now. But today we see words everywhere: streets lined with them, books full of them, cyberspace alive with them, all the outgrowth of that awesomely simple brocade of silence and sound that has woven into languages, litanies, literatures, politics, semiotics, soap operas, propaganda — the list is as endless as each living word, nourished by the infinite.

It is this mystic interweaving that we illuminate in poetry, that we savor in conversation, that we honor in rhetoric, that solaces us in sorrow and that deepens us in love, but that can leave us spellbound in dogma, if we remain asleep to meaning; this is why we must nurture words, fathom them and honor them, but above all truly hear and speak them; we must bear words in mind as in breath, lest we lose their power, in a modern world where the words we hear and see, like the lives we live, seem less and less informed by silence.



Out of the Silence: Word-Roots, & Language Trees – Vitaly Sheveroshkin
Kototama: The Language of the Gods – John Stevens
Zen Koans – Shimano Eido
More Powerful than the Atomic Bomb? or “Elephant is a Long Nose.” – Katagiri Yuzuru
Gatewords – Marc. P. Keane
Wayang Kulit – John Brandi
Words for the 24 Seasons of Japan – Nippon-hyakkan-daijiten; calligraphy by Katherine Hovey-Kahlenbeck
Rain – Lenke Rothman
Bacteria, Virus & The Promise of Splendor – Thomas Fitzsimmons
What is Poetry? – Ooka Makoto
Endless Breath – Robert Brady
Winged Words: An interview with Tada Chimako – Furuya Kazuo, NHK TV
The Gates of Night: Six songs from the Noh – Moriguchi Yasuhiko & David Jenkins
The Legend of Wang Xizhi: China’s Calligraphy Sage – Richard Kraus

Beyond Envelopes – Karyn Lynn Gilman
Between Words and Ki – Andre Geymond
Word in Landscape – Photographs by John Einarsen, Kitaoka Kiyoshi, Stephan Kohler, Lisa Mahoney, and Don Weiss; drawing by Karen H. Fitzsimmons
Oolong – Arthur Sze
Lover’s Wish – Patricia Donegan
Darkness in the Throat– Tanikawa Shuntaro
The Poetless Poem: Deviant English and the Para-Poetic– Clark Lunberry
Canned Foreign – Tawada Yoko
The Power of the Name – Stephen Kohler
Rocking in Russian or Power Chords from the Underground – Alexei Didurov
Speaking in Tongues– An Interview with David Byrne by Robert Brady
Why Taro Can’t Surf – W. David Kubiak
Television vs. Storytelling – Jerry Mander
A Propaganda Model – Noam Chomsky
Mad Earth – Marlene Mountain
Duck Gets the Word – F.J. Logan
Launch or Lunch – David Chadwick
The Great Gairaigo Confusion – Michael Rea
“Burma” Joins Japan’s Newspeak Blacklist – Tim Groves
Faith & Logic: Life in a Kyoto Monastery – Sarah Fremerman
The Folk Song Collector – Po Chui, trans. Rewi Alley
Spring Snow – Arthur Sze
The Art of Translation – Harold Wright
Wordless Words & The Evolution of Poetry – Fil Lewitt

Rain, by Lenke Rothman — Rita Ternberg
Midnight Flute: Chinese Poems of Love and Longing, Trans. Sam Hamill — Preston L. Houser
Dream Conversations on Buddhism and Zen, by Muso Kokushi — Morgan Gibson
Opening the Hand of Thought, by Kosho Uchiyama — Morgan Gibson
A Long Rainy Season (Haiku & Tanka), ed. and trans. by Leza Lowitz, Miyuki Aoyama, and Akemi Tomioka — Patricia Donegan
Writing Systems of the World, by Akira Nakanishi — Ken Rodgers
Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets and Philosophers, by Leonard Koren — Lauren W. Deutsch

Cover Image by Shirin Neshat
162pp (bookzine)
published June 23, 1995


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