Sagawa Chika Translations, Anti-Translations, & Originals

by Sawako Nakayasu with Chika Sagawa
(Rogue Factorial, 2011)


Poetry, Translation. Ten poems by Sagawa Chika are conveyed into English and other languages through a variety of translation techniques and procedures, some of them producing multilingual poems. Languages used include English, Japanese, French, Spanish, Chinese.


Purchase from Bookshop


Say Translation Is Art (Ugly Duckling Presse) and a small pamphlet, Six Poems from Some Girls Walk Into The Country They Are From (SPIA newsletter) publications may be purchased together with Mouth: Eats Color, or individually via their respective publishers.

Review in The Constant Critic by Vanessa Place

Review in HTML GIANT by Saehee Cho

Edges of the Zone (academic paper) by Steve Dolph on

Interview with Thomas Fink on Galatea Resurrects



Mouth: Eats Color is a brilliant infra-textual work, brainchild of the bi-cultural poet/translator Sawako Nakayasu. The collection provokes, expands, and disavows the parameters of language and person and tradition, to forge a beautiful weave of performance and interrogation. This is a project of multilingual wit and passion, echo upon echo upon echo…

——Anne Waldman


You will not read this book. Your mouth is full of birds, believe me. Their song is vulgar, coarse and that’s not their natural coloring. Or you either for that matter. If a translator is not polite, what good is she, if she asks what it matters who is speaking?

——Steve Dolph


Glorious transgressive inventivity of permutation! Reveling glissement, poem into poem—it’s really a single poem, it’s the single poem that realizes the dream in which there is no “original”—which implicitly asks, then, what a poem is: a burst of moving words, words moved, like the reader is, deeply. The glass, the gloves, the sun pouring down. The reader is mostly the sun pouring down. The text.

——Cole Swensen


Don’t ever let anyone tell you that literature exists for the sake of truth: rather, it exists to create better and more beautiful lies, and to enshrine like insects frozen in crystal the gorgeous and inventive asymmetry of mistakes. In this rigorously irreverent book, Sawayaka not only accepts the fact that every translation is “always already” [sorry] a mistranslation, but capitalizes on it, romping, torquing, messing up, re-galvanizing. A tour de force!

——Nada Gordon