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Tokaido Road Paperback – 9 Feb 2011

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Paperback, 9 Feb 2011
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--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Tokaido Road + Like Something Flying Backwards: New & Selected Poems: New and Selected Poems + Torn Awake (New Directions Paperbook)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 78 pages
  • Publisher: CB Editions (9 Feb 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0956735908
  • ISBN-13: 978-0956735904
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 0.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 845,029 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Nancy Gaffield's poetry has appeared in magazines and anthologies, including The Forward Book of Poetry 2012. Her first book, Tokaido Road, was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and won the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize 2011; her second collection, Continental Drift, appeared in 2014. She is a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Kent. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By valerie on 22 Jan 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Exactly what I needed to read and confirmed that my project is not impossible. Loved everything about it, depth, breadth, imagery and masterful use of raw material.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A journey down a road through Japan? An interesting idea for a collection. But its much better than just that.

The information at the front of the book explains that Gaffield was born in the USA but lived in Japan for many years before moving to SE England, so immediately I got the feeling of a woman who was on the move in her life.

One of the points of joy in the collection is that movement. It would have been so easy to take the idea of moving along a road (the road between Kyoto and Tokyo, the 'eastern and western capitals') and made them static poems about points along the way. What Gaffield does though, is maintain that feeling of movement. Whether it is a river ('Rain throbs on, river / breathes - no one even knows / I have a story to tell'), the sky ('Winter stars coalesce with snowflakes') or if it's just these birds that keep cropping up, giving us the illusion that someone is on the verge of flight ('she looked in the mirror, / a pelican looked back').

The language is vivid and magical, and yet routed in the real world on this hard slog down a long road that inspires different reactions from the poems speakers. Beautiful language is not the only joy of this poetry, the rhythm of these poems is blissful to read, seemingly effortless.

Each poem is titled of a town, city or village along the way from Nihonbashi to Kyoto. There are Japanese words (written in English script) and there is a glossary at the back, but in no way does this element detract from the poetry. It is not remotely torturous to look up the odd word, here or there.

The back cover notes that it has been recommended for a couple of really good poetry prizes in 2011 and it really surprises me that it didn't win, because its a really beautiful book that deserves an award to push it up into British consciousness.

I'm certainly recommending this book as one of the best poetry collections I've come across in the last couple of years.
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