“Spaceflight Sonata P.2”
In issue 8: Spring 2019, “Spaceflight Sonata P” was featured. The graphic poem was composed with words and images on toilet paper (there was plenty of toilet paper back then). The project was based on my original fifteen-page poem, “Spaceflight Sonata Vol.1 & 2” (Seattle Review, November 2019).
“Spaceflight Sonata P” was the beginning of a new challenge because the original poem was not easy to convert into my conception of graphic poetry, Trans. Sensory.
Trans. Sensory means that I translate my poems (which are written in English on flat paper) into words and images to create a contemporary Emaki, a picture scroll. I want my viewers to transport their senses from the flat paper and bridge the gap between words and images that will connect with their physical counterparts.
With the elements of Trans. Sensory, the theme of “Spaceflight Sonata P” is that human history may as well be written on flushable toilet paper before we learn from our decisions, despite how horrifying some were. In this new graphic poem, “Spaceflight Sonata P.2”, the theme is similar, but “P” means “Phonetically”.
The whole original poem (Spaceflight Sonata Vol.2) was written in this graphic poem (so I did not select words and images like my other graphic poems). Additionally, there are two more languages, Japanese katakana and Egyptian hierographic.
The English part was phonetically transformed into katakana, and then the romanization’s katakana turned into hieroglyphics. It is impossible to reverse engineer the poem from hieroglyphics to its original.
Our human history may be similar to this process. Even though our ancestors recorded their knowledge and thoughts on rigid stones, we may not be able to interpret them correctly; perhaps, we cannot read their languages, or our ancestors destroyed parts of them on purpose. We, as humans, repeat the same processes again and again, but I optimistically believe…we start learning from the past in this current time we live.
Naoko Fujimoto was born and raised in Nagoya, Japan. Her recent work appears or is forthcoming in POETRY, Kenyon Review, Seattle Review, Quarterly West, North American Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Prairie Schooner, Diode Poetry Journal, and more. She is the author of Glyph:Graphic Poetry=Trans. Sensory (Tupelo Press, 2020) and Where I Was Born (Willow Publishing, 2019). She is an associate & outreach translation editor at RHINO Poetry.