Review: Responsibilities of the Obsessed
Responsibilities of the Obsessed by Goro Takano
Playfully mind-blowing, mischievously anarchic, Goro Takano’s poems stretch across genres and cultures and languages like a tightrope-walker/clown/seer. The modernist ghost of Europe’s surreal decay plays cleverly with Japanese forms such as Noh, tanka, and renshi. Fantastic, engaging, wildly innovative…a multi-layered textual pleasure… These are word magic spells to think with.
Telephones ring “hollow and blank”; “He has no idea what he’ll become. / All he knows is / that tomorrow will be a sunny day / for everybody else.” Dementia and demolished nuclear plants in an immense desert: the artificial landscapes created by Goro Takano in his second book are chillingly, and humorously, real.
In Goro Takano’s Responsibilities of the Obsessed we cross the brain’s divide into the vivarium of the dream world, where babies transform into bombs, new teeth sprout in the mouth of old men, peacocks go to jail, and nude women are seen upon colonoscopy, quoting Catcher in the Rye. This is a glorious book, full of anarchic humor and startling images, among the most original work I have read.
Takano inhabits the overlapping interstices of languages–a place that is both Japanese and English, yet neither at the same time. The unruly inhabitant of two poetic empires, he obeys the laws of neither and instead boldly strikes out on his own march of decolonization.