...One significant poetic form is line-breaks. The line-breaks create an awareness of emptiness on the page, which leads to a unique balance between the white space and words. By utilizing line-breaks, the poet can highlight a particular word, like popping an image into one’s brain. The word may trigger a reader’s old memory, or resurrect feelings of warmth, light, or even dejection. It is Trans. Sensory, isn’t it?
The awareness of space is an important poetic element. Historically, many poets, artists, or architects testing out how to express the void. I think that graphic poems have an advance theory of line-breaks—how to navigate the reader’s eyes through poetic lines with static materials. I consider this line-break hyperawareness.
For example, my graphic poem, Natane Rain Is (#21 GLYPH), many readers start reading from the top right, “careful to”. But the actual narrative line starts from the top left. Even though the title is in the left corner, the majority of audiences start reading from the wrong side because I intentionally composed it that way. I purposely pop “careful to” in the page like a surprise line-break.
Natane Rain Is is a poem about a heart-broken, young one-season love. Often one’s first love can have a frustrated feeling because they cannot control their partner’s emotion. I wanted to express this frustration in the poem—the reader’s eyes move back and forth to figure out the narrative—in strips cut out of flower pictures...
I personally collect essays from poets, writers, and translators who also work with visual elements and have interesting projects in my online gallery, Working On Gallery. You may be interested in reading their craft essays whenever you have a chance.
"Dividing" from WHERE I WAS BORN (Willow Books, The winner of the Editor's Choice)
"Dividing" from GLYPH: Graphic Poetry = Trans. Sensory (Tupelo Press)
Process Picture: My grandfather and my favorite Japanese snack packages
Phobos and Deimos
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Naoko Fujimoto was born, raised in Nagoya, Japan, and studied at Nanzan Junior College. She was an exchange student and received a B.A. and M.A. from Indiana University. Her forthcoming poetry collections are "Where I Was Born", winner of the editor's choice by Willow Books (2019), "Glyph:Graphic Poetry=Trans. Sensory" by Tupelo Press (2021), and "Mother Said, I Want Your Pain", winner of the Shared Dream Immigrant Contest by Backbone Press (2018). Her first chapbook, “Home, No Home” (2016), won the annual Oro Fino Chapbook Competition by Educe Press and another short collection, “Silver Seasons of Heartache” (2017) by Glass Lyre Press, are available from each press. She is a RHINO Poetry associate & translation editor, and Tupelo Quarterly translation editor.