Glyph: Graphic Poetry=Trans. Sensory

by Naoko Fujimoto


I was wandering around the house of poetry and this book showed me to a door I didn’t know existed.

—Gabrielle Bates


Published: June 2021

I was wandering around the house of poetry and this book showed me to a door I didn’t know existed. Now, on the other side, nothing is the same. By layering and arranging found art, original drawings, washi, photos, paint, and bits of leaf, Naoko Fujimoto has created a stunning contemporary emaki engaged with Japanese heritage, the horrors of war, and daughterhood, offering us a dynamic accumulation on the page that feels as delightful and devastating as life itself.”

—Gabrielle Bates

“Naoko’s poetry is ‘trans. sensory.’ It relays the work of translating sources, events, emotional revelations, and emotional search parties into text. It is the very demonstration of the pluralizing experience of poetry itself. Where distinct ‘graphic’ practices meet, at the edges of one material and another, a thin veil of blur where one material gives way to the surface of another, we are presented with a strand to sit on and ponder a detail of poetry related to voice: voice demonstrates in registers. Those registers are the coordinates of a geography we often assume to a composed poetic speaker, a composed, dispositive emotional face to accompany the text. The joy of walking inside a kaleidoscope and touching the surfaces we witness only in two dimension reveals emotional disposition to be a process of stages and witnessed events threaded-through by string, paper, color, and breath––all of it mapped together. All of it a living process of the poet, who is no less heroic if not heroically more honest. Why would we seek to simplify poetry’s beauty and complexity and richness into a plain white page and marginalized text? I’d rather smell the vision of ‘trembling camphor trees,’ let them haunt me, and share the work of making poetic sense of human sinew, mnemonic echoes, and textural gestures. I am comforted by the face of poems like ‘Drinking Poem’ or ‘Foreign / Grey’ in this collection, which console my efforts at hearing poetry with the reminder that a poet must too also work, and care, and persuade the poem from a four-dimensional world, and from all those marvelously experiential, sensory hiding places. What Naoko works when they hold, turn, and consider the personal before handing it back transformed into the world from which it came is what we see and hear in these poems, these trans. sensory dioramas that are more than simply pages of a book, but environments of a memory translated from a historical world, and given back to our minds to consider, to turn, to feel.”

— José Felipe Alvergue

Naoko Fujimoto
Naoko Fujimoto

Naoko Fujimoto was born and raised in Nagoya, Japan. She studied at Nanzan Junior College and received BA and Master’s degrees from Indiana University. Her poetry collections include Where I Was Born (Willow Books 2019), and three chapbooks: Mother Said, I Want Your Pain (Backbone Press 2018), Silver Seasons of Heartache (Glass Lyre Press 2017), and Home, No Home (Educe Press 2016).

Additional information

Weight 0.5 lbs
Dimensions 8.5 × 11 in

Glyph - sample pages