Wild Grass on the Riverbank
by Hiromi Itō
Translated by Jeffrey Angles.
Poetry. Asian & Asian American Studies. Japan Studies. Women’s Studies.
Pub Date 1 January 2015
Set simultaneously in the California desert and her native Japan, tracking migrant children who may or may not be human, or alive, Hiromi Itō’s Wild Grass on the Riverbank will plunge you into dreamlike landscapes of volatile proliferation: shape-shifting mothers, living father-corpses, and pervasively odd vegetation. At once grotesque and vertiginous, Itō interweaves mythologies, language, sexuality, and place into a genre-busting narrative of what it is to be a migrant.
“Informed by a brilliant ferality and tour-de-force grotesqueries, Wild Grass on the Riverbank plays upon elements of traditional Japanese sekkyō-bushi to explore the weird defamiliarizations and surreal transplantations of postmodern diaspora. Diaspora is infused with the organic horrors of sexual vines and seedpods, invasive spores, reanimated decomp, and naturalization means to be eaten alive by bugs and wild grasses. A challenging linguistic undertaking deftly translated by Jeffrey Angles, this is a stunningly brutal and relentlessly innovative book by Japan’s ‘shamaness of poetry.’”
– Lee Ann Roripaugh, author of Dandarians