You often ask for some Japanese poetry recommendations (contemporary in particular!) and finally, we are more than happy to show you a translation of a collection that will amaze you. Tawara’s writing is a breath of fresh air when it comes to old tanka poems – short, 31-syllable-forms. She likens love to apple pie, uses foreign words, recollects writing letters in a corner at McDonald’s… Tawara writes about her first love, raising children, traveling and feeling lonely. Her modest and melancholic poetry was translated by Juliet Winters Carpenter.
At the moment of publishing Salad Anniversary, Tawara was 26 years old and worked as a teacher. Fast forward a few months, and the collection sold more than 2 millions of copies, which rarely happens with novels, let alone poetry.
We like to regularly go back to Tawara’s poems and reread Salad Anniversary – slowly – to remind ourselves to enjoy the little things.