Monday, February 24, 2014

From Japan! Mariko Kitakubo and Kathabela Wilson in a Tanka Dialogue on March 23

On Sunday, March 23, 2014 at 4:30 p.m. Village Poets will present a guest from Japan, Mariko Kitakubo, and a guest from Pasadena, Kathabela Wilson, in a poetic dialogue using an ancient Japanese poetry form, the tanka. Their presentation will be accompanied on Japanese flutes, by Rick Wilson, a math professor at Caltech in Pasadena - a collector and player of flutes of the world. He will accompany the poets on shakuhachi, a traditional end-blown flute of Japan.

As usual, the reading will include two sections of open mike and refreshments. A suggested donation of $3 will help defray the costs of future events.


 Born in Tokyo, Japan, Mariko Kitakubo lives in Mitaka-city, Tokyo and is an accomplished poet. She is a member of the Association of Contemporary Tanka Poets, Kokoro no Hana, The Japan Writers' Association, Japan PEN Club, Japan Tanka Poets Club, Tanka Society of America, and Tanka Online Project. She published 5 books of tanka including 2 bilingual ones: On This Same Star and Cicada Forest. She has also produced a CD of her tanka, entitled Messages. Mariko is an experienced performer who has presented her poetry on at least 100 occasions, 50 of them overseas. Tanka as a form pre-dates haiku, in fact haiku was born from it. It is emotional, musical, lyrical. and free. Mariko hopes by her presentations to encourage more poetry lovers worldwide to appreciate and practice tanka. 


 Kathabela is a California poet, artist, editor, the founder and leader of Poets on Site and Tanka Poets on Site, a FB group of over 400 poets who write on shared themes. She is also the Secretary of the Tanka Society of America. Kathabela is the author of hundreds of poems, published in many journals and books, including Maja Trochimczyk’s Chopin with Cherries anthology published by Sunland’s Moonrise Press in 2010. Kathabela is also the editor of over thirty Poets on Site anthologies inspired by art and gardens in California and featuring the work of hundreds of poets. She hosts local tanka meetings at her home salon and at Caltech in Pasadena. She is the secretary of the Tanka Society of America.


About seven years ago Mariko Kitakubo visited the Pacific Asia Museum to present a program of her poetry in Japanese and English. Her musical, beautiful voice in Japanese greatly impressed the audience. and Kathabela Wilson was inspired to explore this lyrical, emotional form in more detail. Mariko and Kathabela have since collaborated, writing a dialogue sequence of tanka in answer to one another which we will present at the reading for Villlage Poets: “The dialogue was inspired especially by our meeting one another, and what it meant to us, and our experiences on Catalina Island, off the coast of Long Beach CA, an excursion taken at the end of the haiku and tanka conference.”

 two minds
one island
wet from shimmering bay
driftwood and stone
scattered relics

Kathabela Wilson

at emerald green beach
my long long drift
about in a shell

Mariko Kitakubo

Op-Art Painting by Julian Stanczak


The February 23, 2014 reading by Dorothy Skiles was filmed by Joe Barrett and placed on Vimeo. In this reading she presented a series of poems inspired by or coupled with photographs by her husband Bill Skiles.  This travelogue took the listeners into the past and around the world, into reflections about the beauty of nature and the passing of time. There was a visit to snow-covered Berlin, and sunny English countryside. There were boats in Venice, Italy, and chaparral in our hills. The full moon, birds in flight, open sea, a Japanese plum tree in the spring, and the summer rains. A real delight!

Poets after  Dorothy's reading. Front L to R: Mira Mataric, Maja Trochimczyk, 
Dorothy and Bill Skiles,Marlene Hitt, Kathabela and Rick Wilson.
 Back L to R: Taura Scott, Beth Baird, Judy Garrett, Beverly Collins, 
Sharon Hawley, Peter Larsen, Toti O'Brian, Bryan Story, Mari Werner, 
Janet Nippell, Becky Mate and Joe DeCenzo. 

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