Tokyoatoto

Tokyoatoto

Sam Truitt

Tokyoatoto is made of and from a hand-written book composed by the poet Sam Truitt in the course of a 2019 Tokyo sojourn. The writing includes, among other elements, descriptions, impressions, insights into Japanese life and culture and the concrete exigencies of negotiating a foreign land. This last aspect is somewhat complicated by the fact Truitt lived in Tokyo for four years from the age of three and that Japanese was very close to his first language. Moreover the culture of Japan was also close to his first, so that this influence acts as a palimpsest backfield to the writing as the author both seeks and betimes touches traces of its influence. Tokyoatoto's structure is unique in that Truitt seeks to foreground that movement toward originality by reproducing in facsimile the pages of the hand-written book, with their transcriptions appearing on opposite pages. An engaging, thoughtful and sometimes profound glimpse into contemporary life in Tokyo from a perspective of complicated naivety, Tokyoatoto is a fast, entertaining poetic flight full of pratfalls, missed connections, slips and surrenders in which, as the author writes on a Tokyo subway passage, "one senses a web each of us hold together & against & around us like a net knit of civility not docility as there are some faraway landscapes in our mind & in our heart & our bodies are dreaming all of them uniting to listen to the underground hum its magic."

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