Soul Dance Sold Out

Selected Poems by Takako Arai

Soul Dance
  • 2008, 64 pages,
  • ISBN: 978-4-9904416-0-9
  • English translations by Jeffrey Angles
  • With additional translations by Sawako Nakayasu and You Nakai
  • Cover art by Fuyune Suzuki (Michitani)

This book is the first full-length, English-language collection of a major, radically new voice in contemporary Japanese poetry.

Soul Dance is an anthology that pursues the living form of words – an anthology that uses the voice as the bones of poetry, rhythm as its joints, and meaning and notation as its flesh and skin. The vacant lot is the place of poetry.” —Author’s Introduction
“In Takako Arai’s Soul Dance, I sensed a piercing, shattering power.” —Motō Andō (Poet), Yomiuri Shinbun
“It is incredible to me that contemporary Japanese poetry has reached such heights within the framework of colloquial poetry. While using the sad lives of the people as the base of her poetry, Arai has used the narrative style of mythology to work in experiments with rhythm, which succeed very well. One is astounded at her tenacious desire to create and her ability to put words together. An extremely appealing text.” —Masahiro Kudō (Poet, Scholar of Russian literature),
from his commentary for the Oguma Hideo Prize

Ordering Information

  • $11 for domestic purchases, sent within Japan, postage included
  • $14 for international purchases, sent air mail to international address, postage included
  • Please send payment by PayPal ( to the following address
    (removing the spaces): m i t e @ a c e. o c n. n e. j p

Biographical Information

  • Takako Arai (Poet) was born in 1966 in Kiryū City, Gunma Prefecture to a family engaged in textile manufacturing, a traditional industry in Kiryū. Her first collection of poetry, Hao-bekki, was published in 1997. Her second collection, Tamashii Dance (Soul Dance), was published in 2007 and awarded the 41st Oguma Hideo Prize. Since 1998 she has been a contributor to, and eventually editor of Mi’Te, a magazine featuring poetry and criticism.

  • Jeffrey Angles (Translator) is an associate professor of Japanese literature at Western Michigan University (USA). He is the author of Writing the Love of Boys (University of Minnesota Press, 2010) and the co-editor of Japan: A Traveler’s Literary Companion (Whereabouts Press, 2006). In addition to his translations of Arai, he has published two other collections of Japanese women’s poetry: Killing Kanoko: Selected Poetry of Hiromi Itō (Action Books, 2009) and Forest of Eyes: Poetry of Tada Chimako (University of California Press, 2010).

  • Sawako Nakayasu (Translator) was born in Japan and has lived most of her life in the US. She is the author of two books of poetry, and two forthcoming books: Hurry Home Honey (Burning Deck) and Texture Notes (Letter Machine). Her translations include For the Fighting Spirit of the Walnut (New Directions, 2008) by Takashi Hiraide, Four From Japan (Litmus Press/Belladonna Books, 2006), and To the Vast Blooming Sky (Seeing Eye Books, 2007) by Chika Sagawa.

  • You Nakai (Translator) makes music, reads books, translates ideas, controls robots, and buys lottery tickets. He is a member of no collective ( Recent works include concerto no.1, aliaj cirkvitoj, and si me non videas, esse negabis avem (all 2008). Current projects include building and maintaining the corpo plumhill playhouse (with yelena gluzman), getting into electronic circuits, and avoiding repetitions.

Other Links

For more information about Tamashii dance, the collection containing the original Japanese versions of the poems included in Soul Dance, please see the publisher’s website. The book is available for purchase on