Festival in My Heart: Poems by Japanese Children

Bruno Navasky, Author ABRAMS $29.95 (120p) ISBN 978-0-8109-3314-9
The title page of this lavish assemblage of Japanese art and children's poems is aptly adorned with a reproduction of Tosa Mitsuoki's Edo-period screen painting of an exquisite tree from which hang scrolls of poems like delicate gold-powdered ribbons. A treasury of Japanese ink paintings, woodblock prints, textiles and sculptures represent various periods and techniques, both ancient and modern--rather grand accompaniments to the poems, which were written by Japanese schoolchildren and originally selected and published by poet Kawasaki Hiroshi in a leading Japanese newspaper. Many of the poems seem chosen more for cuteness than for craft: ``Hey mom-- /Do you know why I was born? I wanted to meet you, mom, / so I got born.'' Occasionally, however, the poems surprise and delight with effective imagery and reflective perceptions about activities, nature and families: ``One plus one / is two. / Mother plus father / is me. / Moon / plus stars / is sky.'' If not as strong overall as its predecessor, Charles Sullivan's Imaginary Gardens , the volume offers a welcome introduction to a foreign culture that will, like Mitsuoki's cherry blossoms, ``scatter / through people's hearts.'' All ages. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/30/1993
Release date: 09/01/1993
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