Nagae Yūki 永方佑樹 (b. 1976)

 

Nagae uses the language of trigonometry in her most recent collections, along with an image base comprised of minerals, elements, chemical substances, geology, chemistry, and machinery, marks her work with a comfortable relationship with science and even a hint of futurism.

Nagae’s path toward writing began while studying abroad in France, and by returning back to Japan to study literature at Keio University, she published her first collection, Lonesome Flowers (Monosabishi-no hana), in 2012. She was also the recipient of the 2012 Poetry and Thought Newcomer’s Award (Shi to Shisō Shinjin Shō).

In √3 (2016), Nagae calls attention to ecriture and the graphic nature of language.

Nagae also distances herself from inhabiting (or being colonized by) gender. She writes, “It’s not that I don’t concern myself with gender so much as that I think, I do not want my readers to be concerned with it” (Nagae, personal correspondence, December 2016). 
This is the impetus behind her name change to Yūki 佑樹, which is gender neutral and thus can “shake up the predictive feelings a name gives, forcing a hesitation vis-à-vis gender categorization”.

 

“Reboot and Upload”
(再起動およびアップロード, 2016)

 

Synched with the ether’s silver undulations
Deep in the transparent gaseous layers
Bound in hexagonal crystal
In hibernation,
sounds from cobalt ice
Loosen, shaken by the aqueous scent,
Trembling, come undone,
their cracks widening
In the silicate glass hues
Models for flickering memory
Exhaustively forgotten,
Obsolete,
The Beginning,
Now just a beginning,
Meekly starts swaying
Beasts and flowers and grasses and such
The fluidity of their motions
Their bustling din
A humming vitality
Calling the snow to melt
Picking at the heat flashes
Above the open seams
Of bright evening cherry blossoms


Spring ice as we say
Cracks rending
The faint surface expressed through frothing hail,
The lights’ hazy glow
Breezes silent into time’s intervals,
Deep roots of sleep-talk slacken, collapse,
Combing out the ends of plant-life,
Flickering off the enamel
Entangled in
The interstices of the unraveled season
They follow


––in the city too, dragging the weight of many pounds,
The nimble circumference of revolutions touches the future.
Loop of annual fatigue.
But the city remains uncharmed.
Analysis chances in the NASDAQian tide,
Whirled into thirsting exponents, exhales vapor, disappears into a vague interior.
Nothing sinks in, taken up in the faint Yamanote Line20 announcement
Is the same old beginning––

 

(translated by Jordan A. Y. Smith)

Published in U.S. Japan Women's Journal (Summer 2017)