Opening the book, I could hear the wind blowing outside of the window; I had a feeling that I could almost see the tree leaves dancing. I turned the pages as if opening windows that show me the landscape of poetry. This was my encounter with The Melody of Windows, a poetry collection edited, designed and hand-bound by Nobuko Yamamoto.
Yamamoto was an editor before working as a book designer. Her independent publishing house Hioriyomi focuses on poetry collections. Each of the poetry collection usually includes around 10 poems, most of which are no longer bound by copyright. Yamamoto would put them together based on a certain theme that can also be reflected in the book design. For instance, The White Poetry is a collection of poems related to the white color, each printed on a different type of paper, so that the different “whiteness” written in the poems can as well be felt by the fingers.
The Melody of Windows, published in 2016, is a collection of 10 poems that were printed alongside with copper plate etching images designed by the copper plate etching artist Masayo Mori. My favorite was Train Windows by Tamiki Hara, which can be loosely translated as:
Under the blooming cherry blossom
Are a couple of primary school children.
The road is slightly warm in the morning,
But the train leaves in haste.
The three images Mori designed for this particular poem are placed on three pages; when turning pages, they appear like a moving train that sadly reminded me of the temporality of sceneries behind the train windows.
Japanese poetry sometimes makes me feel bereft. Unlike Chinese, the Japanese language only consists of 50 sounds, it is comparatively dull when reading aloud and is rather difficult to create many different combinations of sound. However, behind the somewhat monotone poetry is in fact a magically wide horizon. I am still a beginner in appreciating Japanese poetry, the poems selected by Nobuko Yamamoto often open up the window for me to have a glimpse at the vast and exquisite landscape of poetry.