Time of Sky & Castles in the Air

In this double volume of Kawata’s poetry, the language and experience of dreaming abounds. Time of Sky is an elusive series consisting of tight, spare pieces, none more than seven lines long, often feeling unresolved,fading,or abruptly coming to an end, as dreams do. The poems employ surreal language and images and often feel prophetic in some way.

From the trace of the incontinent blood of an angel walking
holding some sky cut out with a glass cutter, the dawn—

The ridgeline of the woman who offers up her entire body
     to an
invisible light becomes the first blue aria of spring

The book’s second part, Castles in the Air, is subtitled A dream journal and presents a series of prose poems that are straightforward and compelling in their stark clarity and frankness—the dreams here have been chronicled as narratives. Translator Sawako Nakayasu adds a helpfully informative Afterword to round out this lovely collection.

This book review originally appeared in American Poets, fall 2010, issue 39.