Monthly Poetry Magazine

Read the Poems



Read the Poems




Naoshi Koriyama was born in 1926 on an island named “Kikaijima” in the Amami chain of islands between mainland Japan and Okinawa. He graduated from Kagoshima Normal College in 1947 and from Okinawa Foreign Language School in 1949. He studied at the University of New Mexico 1950-51 and the New York State College for Teachers at Albany, (now the SUNY at Albany), 1951-54(B.A.).

During a long literary career, Professor Koriyama has published many books of poetry, translations of various literary works into English and into Japanese, and a book of essays. A number of his poems have also been reprinted in textbooks and international anthologies.

However, he has been most prolific in the field of poetry, where he is an acknowledged master in both England and Japanese verse forms. His books on poetry include:

Coral Reefs, (Hokuseido Press, 1957)
Plum Tree in Japan and Other Poems, (Hokuseido Press, 1959)
Songs from Sagamihara, (Hokuseido Press, 1967)
By the Lakeshore and Other Poems, (Hokuseido Press, 1977)
Time and Space and Other Poems, (Hokuseido Press, 1985)
Selected Poems 1954-1985, (Hokuseido Press, 1989)
Poesie, (Forum/ Quinta Generazione, Italy, 1990)
Eternal Grandeur and Other Poems, (Hokuseido Press, 1994)
Collected Poems, (Hokuseido Press, 1996)
Poems about the Iraq War and Other Poems, (Eiko-sha, Tokyo, 2004)

He is also the author of a book of Essays entitled “Another Bridge over the Pacific, (Vantage Press, 1993).”



To A Poet

Fog, alone, cannot stand
Sunshine, time, or wind.
Fog is to fade away,
Erased by sunshine,
Absorbed by time,
Or carried away by wind.

Dear poet,
Scoop up the fog-like feeling, then,
With your aspiring hands,
And roll it up
Into a round, solid poem
Which can stand
Sunshine, time, or wind.


Unfolding Bud

One is amazed
By a water-lily bud
With each passing day,
Taking on a richer color
And new dimensions.

One is not amazed,
At first glance,
By a poem,
Which is as tight-closed
As a tiny bud.

Yet one is surprised
To see the poem
Gradually unfolding,
Revealing its rich inner self,
As one reads it
And over again.

(© 1957 The Christian Science Monitor)


A Loaf of Poetry

You mix
the dough
of experience
the yeast
of inspiration
and knead it well
with love
and pound it
with all your might
and then
leave it
it puffs out big
with its own inner force
and then
knead it again
shape it
into a round form
and bake it
in the oven
of your heart



now he takes his mark
at the very farthest end of the runway
looking straight ahead, eager, intense
with his sharp eyes shining

he takes a deep, deep breath
with his powerful lungs
expanding his massive chest
his burning heart beating like thunders

then…after a few…tense moments…of pondering
he roars at his utmost
and slowly begins to jog
kicking the dark earth hard
and now he begins to run
kicking the dark earth harder
then he dashes, dashes like mad, like mad
howling, shouting, screaming, and roaring

then with a most violent kick
he shakes off the earth’s pull
softly lifting himself into the air
soaring higher and higher and higher still
piercing the sea of clouds
up into the chandelier of stars


A New Year Song Of The Tiger

At the beautiful dawn of the New Year’s Day
Of the Year of the Tiger, 2010,
I inhale all the fresh air of the New Year’s Day morning
Deep into my powerful lungs
And roar my first roar of the year
As far as the end
Of the endless universe.

But, when I look at the human world
Full of arrogance, greed, distrust and conflicts,
I gnash my angry fangs,
And sharpen my mighty claws,
Scratching a fine pine tree’s trunk
Or a gray granite rock.
And I warn human beings, roaring my loudest roar,

“Unless you become wise enough
To get rid of the terrible weapon your clever minds have invented,
You will leave nothing but the ruins of what your hands have built,
Your charred black skeletons and scorched forests.
Your songs, artworks, books, even your dreams will be gone.”


An Artist’s Apology To His Daughter

You may feel uncomfortable,
looking at those paintings
of nude women
your father has painted.
He did look at the women
as intensely
as he could, trying to reproduce
the gentle curves of their rich breasts.
He counted the threads of a model’s hair
hanging on her nape.
He could feel the heartbeat
of the woman in front,
as he moved his brush on the canvas.
Perhaps he loved these women
more strongly than he loved your mother.
Here they are, painted for ages to come,
exposing their naked bodies
to the sun.