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BC poet wins Canada-Japan Award

May 11th, 2023

Matsuki Masutani (pictured at right) of Denman Island has won a Canada-Japan Literary Award this year for his poetry book I will be more myself in the next world (Mother Tongue $19.95). The prize comes with a purse of $10,000.

The peer assessment committee for the prize wrote: “By turns wistful and wise, these poems are marvels of distillation and feeling, full of subtle tonal gradations and striking clarity as they explore love, illness, and ageing in the bewildering in-between space of transnational experience. The poet alternates between English and Japanese to create a sense of linguistic liminality, in which words shift between worlds in compelling ways.”

Matsuki Masutani is a poet and translator. He moved from Tokyo to Vancouver in 1976 and later to Denman Island, where he eventually began writing poems in English and Japanese. I will be more myself in the next world is his debut book. It was also shortlisted for the 2022 Gerald Lampert Memorial Award.

Masutani has translated Roy Kiyooka’s Mothertalk, Hiromi Goto’s A Chorus of Mushrooms, and Kishizo Kimura’s memoir, Witness to Loss (from Japanese into English). Masutani has also edited the modern Japanese translation of The Shobogenzo, a medieval Buddhist text.

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The Canada-Japan Literary Awards recognize the literary merit of books on Japan, on Japanese themes or on themes that promote mutual understanding between Japan and Canada, written by Canadian authors, or translated by Canadian translators from Japanese into English or French.

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