Gozo Yoshimasu

Epoch Poet:
Stone Circle

Gōzō Yoshimasu (吉増 剛造|Yoshimasu Gōzō) (b. 1939, Tokyo) is a prolific and highly acclaimed Japanese poet, photographer, artist and filmmaker active since the 1960s. He has received a number of literary and cultural awards, including the Takami Jun Prize (1971), the Rekitei Prize, the Purple Ribbon Medal in 2003 (given by the Government of Japan),[1]the 50th Mainichi Art Award for Poetry (2009),[2] and the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays in 2013.[3]

Reading at the Daiwa Foundation (London), 5 July 2013

Major influences include Shinobu Orikuchi, Paul Klee, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Cézanne, William Blake, John Cage, Patrick Chamoiseau.[1] Many of his poems are multilingual, blending elements of French, English, Chinese, Korean, Gaelic, and more, and feature cross-linguistic and typographic wordplay. His poems rely on intimate experiences with geography and history, layering encounters in the present with a keen awareness of the past. His performances which often include film, the display of fetish objects, chanting, ritual procedures, and the collaboration of musicians and other artists, are legendary.

In a 2014 interview by Aki Onda on the MoMA blog “Post,” Yoshimasu described the relationship of his poetry to performance by remarking, “My quest is to reclaim the poetry that lies at the root of performing arts.”