Fiction. Poetry. Asian & Asian American Studies. THE ANTS is a study not of, but through, ants. In a dashing sequence of prose pieces, Sawako Nakayasu takes the human to the level of the ant, and the ant to the level of the human. Prima facie, THE ANTS is a catalogue of insect observations and observations of insects. But the exposé of insect life humbles and disrupts the myopia that is human life, where experience is seen in its most raw and animal form and human "nouveau-ambitious" and "free-thinking" lifestyles become estranged, uncovered, and humbled. Found in the soups of dumplings and remembered in childhood vignettes, these ants trail through what Nayayasu writes as the "industry of survival," exploring interfaces of love, ambition, and strategy. The danger is not in sentiment, but rather, in a gash, a wall, an argument, an intention. Is it more lonely to be crushed into the core of a non-mechanical pencil, to be isolated in the safety of home, or to "find" "it" "all" at the very very last moment? THE ANTS is the distance, the break, the tenuous wilderness between exoskeleton and endoskeleton, and Nakayasu puts her finger on it, and it, and it.
Michelle Dove @ The Small Press Book Review
Sawako Nakayasu is an artist working with language, performance, and translation—separately and in various combinations. She has lived mostly in the US and Japan, briefly in France and China, and translates from Japanese. Her books include The Ants (Les Figues Press), TEXTURE NOTES (Letter Machine Editions, 2010), SOME GIRLS WALK INTO THE COUNTRY THEY ARE FROM (Wave Books, 2020), ELECTRIC SARCASM (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2020), the translation of Tatsum Hijikata's Costume en Face: A Primer of Darkness for Young Boys and Girls (UDP), The Collected Poems of Chika Sagawa (Canarium Books), and Mouth: Eats Color—Sagawa Chika Translations, Anti-translations, & Originals (Rogue Factorial), a multilingual work of both original and translated poetry. She is co-editor of A TRANSPACIFIC POETICS (Litmus Press, 2017), a gathering of poetry and poetics engaging transpacific imaginaries, as well as of a forthcoming anthology of 20th Century Japanese Poetry, co-edited with Eric Selland (New Directions). She teaches at Brown University.Author City: SAN FRANCISCO, CA USA