r. y. takagi
December 8, 2013:  Book Launch of r. y. takagi’s Relocation.

Anyone who believes that the haiku must stick only to nature, and to do this in a  purple, fairyland sort of way, is, upon opening this book, in for a rude—or I should say a very pleasant—awakening. Yes, there is plenty of nature in the poems of R.Y. Takagi’s book, but there is much more, for he deals with the bleakest chapter in the history of Japanese-American life: the forced deportation, during World War II, of thousands of innocent people, whether U.S. citizens or not, to “relocation centers.” Takagi relates/describes the tragedy of this lost generation with humor, honesty and insight. For fifty years after the war he remained silent about what he and his family had endured in those primitive camps, and these poems are products of the last dozen or so years of his life, when he finally felt free to speak his truth about injustice. There are also touching poems about his family, his childhood years, the friends who aged with him, and the sights of smells of life around him. This is Takagi’s first book and it’s a memorable one, both for what it explicitly depicts and for what it gently, beautifully, leaves unsaid.


(three cuts of a sword)

again up the hill

under weight against the wind

and the gods laughing


a cruel cut was made

just before the budding time

what now the season


yesterday is lost

tomorrow is of wishing

today is “in camp”


2013 Tarumi Takagi-Inouye
R.Y. Takagi was a Featured Poet who read his poetry at the December 2013 Second Sunday Poetry Series