Yomimono #16 – now available!

Yomimono #16 features cover art created by Kyushu expat Michelle Zacharias. Of her work, the artist says that no preliminary sketches are made. “The artwork grows organically and then finally dictates when a piece is finished or not.” This is from a piece called “Celebration,” created with colored pencils, watercolors, and gesso on wood panels.

This issue also includes writing by Nepalese filmmaker/writer Sushma Joshi, self-proclaimed “international party boy” Marcus Bird, poet and novelist David Galef, and others.

Here are some first lines from stories and poems:

“I did not mean to sell you.”

“If the ant had not bitten Mrs. Mathur on the back of her ample thigh, perhaps none of this would have happened.”

“It was New Year’s morning in the city of Sapporo, in northern Japan.”

“My twin brother and I carved out together a cave in the snow.”

“Mamoko slid the slender ink stick forward then backward, making sure that her even strokes made no ripples in the jet black liquid in the shallow well of her ink stone, just like he had taught her.”

“I was halfway between a juvenile/delinquent and an old degenerate.”

“I don’t like to sleep.”

“She had never spoken, she did not speak.”

To purchase a copy, click  here.

Review of SKY = EMPTY

Poet and former expat Judy Halebsky’s recently published collection, Sky = Empty, is reviewed in The Japan Times. Halebsky, who was awarded the 2009 New Issues Poetry Prize by judge Marvin Bell, contributed three new poems to Yomimono #15. An interview with Halebsky appears in Yomiono #14.


JAPLISH WHIPLASH, the long-awaited collection of poet Taylor Mignon, is reviewed in this past weekend’s Japan Times. You can read the review here.

Several poems in this collection were previously published in Yomimono. Mignon also contributes a new series of short poems, “The Saitama Suite,” to the current issue, which can be ordered here.

The Bush Warbler Laments to the Woodcutter

I offered you sanctuary with one condition.
Even this much you could not hold.When you looked into the forbidden chamber
my three daughters became birds
and flew away from me forever.

Memory of our transgressions is a stone. It lies
on the seabed of our deepest forgetting.

—regret and sorrow in the making

Before you came I swept this house daily
with a long broom of rice straw.

Often I would wander from room to room,
touching each treasure as I passed:

a golden screen, three red lacquer bowls—
Now, all is dust suspended in late sunlight.

This forest house, with its paper doors and secrets,
is too large for me now. Let it dissolve in mist
and absence, no trace left for the lost children.

What am I but the flower of your deepest self?

—crushed chrysanthemum petals underfoot

Instead, I am cast out across vast distances,
circling far above the trees, never to be human.

You will say that a grand house once stood
in a forest clearing. Then: nothing but birdcalls.

Longing itself is nothing but the heart’s open spaces.

—regret and sorrow, come calling

If I could make it so, I would be the one left alone
in the meadow, rubbing my eyes and wondering.

Remember this: I, once a woman, took you in,
an exchange for a promise kept.

Three maidens startled, then transformed into birds.

Whatever you abandon returns in your dreams.

Mari L’Esperance is a graduate of New York University’s creative writing program, where she was a New York Times Company Foundation Creative Writing Fellow. L’Esperance’s poems have appeared in Pequod, The Beloit Poetry Journal, Barnabe Mountain Review, Salamander, and several other periodicals and an anthology. A chapbook manuscript, Begin Here, was awarded first prize in the 1999 Sarasota Poetry Theatre Press national chapbook competition and was published in 2000. In 2002 L’Esperance received a Pushcart Prize nomination for her poem “Pantoum of the Blind Cambodian Women”, which was published in The Worcester Review. L’Esperance has been awarded residency grants from Dorland Mountain Arts Colony and Hedgebrook. She has taught creative writing at NYU, Merritt College in Oakland, California, and the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. She is currently training to be a psychotherapist and lives in Oakland.

L’Esperance, who is of Japanese and French Canadian-American descent, was born in Kobe, Japan and raised in southern California, Micronesia, and Japan.