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 was born in Japan and has lived mostly in the US since the age of six. Her most recent books are THE ANTS (Les Figues, 2014) and a translation of THE COLLECTED POEMS OF SAGAWA CHIKA (Canarium Books, 2014). She is also the author of SO WE HAVE BEEN GIVEN TIME OR (Verse Press/Wave Books, 2004), NOTHING FICTIONAL BUT THE ACCURACY OR ARRANGEMENT (SHE (Quale Press, 2006), and TEXTURE NOTES (Letter Machine Editions, 2010). Her other translations include FOUR FROM JAPAN: CONTEMPORARY POETRY & ESSAYS BY WOMEN (Litmus Press, 2006), To the Vast Blooming Sky by Sagawa (2007), and For the Fighting Spirit of the Walnut by Hiraide (2008). Her poetry has been translated into Japanese, Swedish, Arabic, Chinese, and Vietnamese. She holds an MFA from Brown University and has received grants from the NEA and PEN for translating Japanese poetry. Author City: SAN FRANCISCO, CA USA