The Fat Sheep Everyone Wants

By Bern Mulvey
Cleveland State University Press, Cleveland  2008

fatsheep-medTamura-cho (a small village in Fukui Prefecture) is the setting for The Fat Sheep Everyone Wants, poems that touch on identity, assimilation, conflict, death, forgiveness, and redemption. The title refers to the original ideographs (fat and sheep) that make up the modern Japanese character for beauty. This is not a tourist travelogue — the author writes from the perspective of someone both fluent in the language and conversant in the modern literature. Indeed, these poems can be seen as a challenge to the traditional representations of Japan in Western creative literature, participating instead in the flux of Japan’s modern literary styles and themes (e.g., the work of Ibaraki Noriko, Itou Hiromi, Takamura Koutarou, Asada Saho, Tawara Machi, etc.) and evolving the dialectic between them. (Publisher’s description)

Bern Mulvey has written poems, articles and essays in English and in Japanese. He is Dean of Faculty at Miyazaki International College in Japan, one of three non-Japanese to hold this rank at a Japanese university.