Ryoko Sekiguchi

Ryoko Sekiguchi was born in Tokyo in 1970.  At an early age she began to write poetry in both Japanese and French, and when she was eighteen she received the Tokyo Literature Prize of »Cahiers de la poésie contemporaine«. Since 1997 she has lived in Paris, where she studied Art History at the Sorbonne.  Three years later she completed her doctorate in Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies at the University of Tokyo.  Today she teaches at various institutes including INALCO, the Paris Research Centre for Oriental Languages and Civilisations.

Sekiguchi’s poetry, in its structure and form, breaks from Japanese tradition.  Her poems are striking in their composition, because Sekiguchi rejects established formats and textual dispositions, as well as creating a visual, poetic space.  Her first volume of poetry »Cassiopée Péca« (1993) was originally printed in A2-Format.  The typographical composition, in the form of variedly arranged text blocks – or labyrinths of lines –, generates a wealth of meaning, which challenges the reader’s faculty of interpretation, and turns it into a fundamental element of the poetry.  The synthesis of various symbols – an ubiquitous theme in Sekiguchi’s work – also contributes to this effect. In this way, elements of different languages are found fused together within the same sentence, and that which is written is sometimes accompanied by a graphical pattern – as in »Calques« (Engl: Tracing Paper) for example, a poetry collection from 2001. This volume is composed of texts from her Japanese works »(com)position« (1996) and »Hakkouseï Diapositive« (2000; Engl: Illuminating Slides), which Sekiguchi translated herself as she does with many of her own poems.  Some of these appeared in literary publications such as »Action Poétique«, »Dédales«, and »Po&sie«. Sekiguchi has also translated the works of Gôzô Yoshimasu, Yoko Tawada and French authors including Pierre Alferi, Anne Portugal, and Atiq Rahimi.

Sekiguchi has received numerous grants from the Japanese Foundation for Writing Arts and the Centre National du Livre, amongst others.  Her poems have been translated into English, Korean, Swedish, and Arabic.  The Pompidou Centre in Paris and the Maison des Ecrivains, the New York Library and the San Francisco City University are all institutions where Sekiguchi has been invited to give readings.  She has participated with writing contributions in exhibitions of contemporary art, of which the last – »Le monde est rond« (2004; Engl: The World is Round) – is documented in book-form.  In 2007 her volume of poetry, »Adagio ma non troppo« was published. Sekiguchi lives in Paris.

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