Kent Johnson achieved notoriety when it was discovered that he had authored poems attributed to a Japanese Hiroshima survivor named Araki Yasusada. Far more than a hoax, his work was intended to provoke questions of authorship, translation, artistic sincerity, and cultural desire. In the wake of the controversy, Johnson has continued to needle readers notions about art and politics. In addition to Doubled Flowering, the supposed Yasusada poems, his books include A Nation of Poets: Writing from the Workshops of Nicaragua; Beneath a Single Moon: Buddhism in Contemporary American Poetry, edited with Craig Paulenich; Third Wave: The New Russian Poetry, edited with Stephen M. Ashby; and Lyric Poetry After Auschwitz: Nine Submissions to the War. Join us as Johnson reads from his work and discusses the intriguing issues related to authorship and originality that compel so much of contemporary art.
Free Verse is copresented by Rain Taxi Review of Books.