The magnitude-9 tremor also seems to have scared the poetic muse back into him. His poetry booklet about the disaster, March and After, was published to critical acclaim - reviews here and here - leading one British newspaper to dub him "Bard of a Broken Country".
we would not look twice if this girl with her dog walked past in a tokyo park but here among this mud rolled cars broke homes she looks so normal out of place that she has brought to a complete stand still the work of ten marines volunteers a squad of japanese soldiers all watch the poodle squat and shudder what’s one more ounce in this shit soaked town we must all be thinking the same because when the girl opens her bag unfolds a tissue wraps the turd as carefully as a slice of wedding cake splashes water from a bottle we burst into such stomach-creasing laughter that it all begins to hurt
march and after - poems from tsunami country -
march and after - poems from tsunami country - chronicles life in Japan following the 3.11 earthquake. From the terror of hourly aftershocks and scenes of hardened yakuza fleeing Tokyo, Jon Mitchell takes the reader through Tohoku’s devastation to the 400-year old shrine once believed to prevent such catastrophes.
Among this untold destruction, these poems also explore a side to the disaster rarely seen. As radiation scares and rolling black-outs buffeted the nation, a remarkable sense of solidarity emerged that propelled tens of thousands of ordinary people to volunteer in the heart of the hardest-hit areas.
Without a doubt, the March 11th earthquake was one of the worst moments in Japanese history. But, as the poems in march and after show, it was also a time that brought out the very best in many people.
Paperback / 40 pages / 1000yen 100% sales to NPO Peace Boat's ongoing relief efforts in Tohoku
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In a spare, deceptively simple style reminiscent of Raymond Carver, this slim chapbook plays out the universal and poignant story of survival, endurance and redemption. Of human contact. And it will make you laugh. What more could you ask. Sabotage Reviews, November 2011
At its heart, "March and After" tells a contradictory tale of apologetic survival and downward redemption — the fragile and soaring possibilities of man. The Japan Times, October 2011
In a nation where poetry is revered, a Welsh writer has found a loyal following capturing the mood of panic-stricken Japan in the wake of the tsunami. Wales on Sunday, March 2011
Poetry is usually a much longer, slower conversation than the momentary urgency of graffiti or journalism, though there are exceptions – Jon Mitchell, a Welsh poet living in Japan, responds here to the recent earthquake, blurring the lines between poetry, the diary and reportage. Poetry Wales, July 2011
at the shrine to settle tremors, ibaraki
at the shrine to settle tremors the unslept man lines up with all the others to say a prayer at the stone supposed to stop the ground from shaking
while the local housewives bow and clap and thank the gods for letting their town off lightly the man says maybe it protected here too much you know and that’s why everywhere else was so destroyed
the housewives stay silent as an elevator fart the man shrugs plays his comment as a throw away joke but when the others leave he stays a moment spits twice quickly on the stone and curses it for abandoning miyagi fukushima his hometown to the waves
All sales go to Peace Boat's ongoing relief efforts in the worst hit areas.