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Syndic Literary Journal

Celebrating the 10th Anniversary

of Syndic Literary Journal 


By Japanese Poet/Journalist Taki Yuriko

Translated by John Saxon

I would like to share with everyone the splendidness of the Syndic Literary Journal. Published by Mr. LeRoy Chatfield, it started on the internet in 2010 and has continued to evolve.

  1. The Limits of Paper Publishing

In most cases, poetry publishing houses are small. In Japan, even those that publish periodicals can produce no more than 500-1000 copies, while poetry collections only see 2-300 copies, 500 at most. I suspect that other countries are no different. Furthermore, even career poets are mostly self-published in Japan. Accordingly, a poet only dedicates a collection to fellow poets, and if the poetry collection does well, perhaps a review will be written by a fellow poet in a periodical poetry magazine.

2. Syndic’s challenges

The paperless internet requires no one to develop sales channels or transportation routes. Syndic’s appearance there toppled the fundamental notion of the paper book. It was astonishing. Good for the environment, of course, but Syndic used the internet to full advantage by having the poems read aloud by the authors themselves. One could now sample books with both the eyes and the ears. Internet publications could be transmitted anywhere there was an internet connection worldwide. All at once, authors and readers could be from anywhere in the world. And since browsing the web is free, the number of new readers steadily increased.

  1. The editing is also excellent

Digital books were made as extensions of paper books, but with Syndic, clicking only what you wish to read from the table of contents section immediately opens the corresponding page. Such simplicity for the reader could only be designed by those who understand deeply the technology for creating web sites. Downloading all the pages of a conventional digital book takes time and can use up computer disk space. Some people will give up before the book is ready to read.

  1. Syndic’s editorial policy 

Unlike the so-called anthology, which lines up an array of works from many, many authors, all subject to word limits, in an effort to please everyone, Syndic aims to deliver works to readers with messages that match with the editor’s policies. I was also very pleased that, unlike other media, Syndic allows me to write freely and without word limits.

Syndic’s publisher and editor, Mr. LeRoy Chatfield, is also an excellent writer. The underlying spirit of his editorial philosophy can be found in the “easy essays” he writes for Syndic. Many individuals who have influenced him appear in these essays. Once he left the life and learning of monastery life, he encountered real society by meeting street people desperate for that day’s bread, by meeting Cesar Chavez, who had a profound influence on The Agriculture Labor Movement, by even meeting people in jails, learning from all such encounters. In the society facing us, Mr. Chatfield’s actions show that he does not overlook its contradictions nor abandon its lowest classes. This character also shows deeply in Syndic’s editorial policy of working to lift up all voices together.

  1. Outstanding editors also nurture their writers.

First and foremost, I feel that he has taught me about living life as a human being. Then, on the writing side, Mr. Chatfield has been revealing to us new modes of expression: the “easy essay” for prose and the “spoken word” for poetry. In accordance with these principles, I was required to submit a recording of my own reading along with my work. As I read, I found the spots where I chose to breathe that were unnatural. I began to understand where to cut and change lines in a work written just in words. This led me to create expressions that are easier for listeners and readers to understand.

  1. Syndic is a “Freedom of Expression” Zone

By seeking new ways to make literature, new modes of expression, and new ways for people to live together with others, Mr. LeRoy Chatfield has created a “freedom of expression” zone with this internet publication.

Congratulations on the 10th anniversary of Syndic. I send my deep thanks to Mr. LeRoy Chatfield for accepting this fledgling writer into his high-minded and ambitious Freedom of Expression zone for the past ten years. I am sure that he will continue challenging authors, readers, and everyone else for the next five years, ten years or more, not to be held captive by the common sense of today’s publishing world.


PS: Soon after the March, 2011 Fukushima accident, the worst nuclear accident in history, I received a warm email of sympathy from my friend, the international poet Dr. Mag Dariusz Pacak from Poland. He also wrote that it was my duty as a Japanese poet to write about this accident as it developed. He introduced me to Syndic at that time. I am still deeply grateful for his passionate friendship as a poet. I would like to add that my great American friends, Mr. John Saxon and Dr. Deborah Saxon, who have always worked hard to translate my work from Japanese into lovely English, make it possible for me to contribute to Syndic.


Japanese Translation 

Celebrating the 10th Anniversary

of Syndic Literary Journal

Syndic Literary Journal 10周年  



2011年 LeRoyChatfield氏によってインターネット上で産声をあげ、進化し続けている Syndic Literary Journal のすばらしさを 読者の皆さんと共有させていただきたく以下言葉足らずとは思いますが紹介させていただきます。 


多くの場合 詩の出版社は零細だ。定期刊行を可能にしている場合でも せいぜい500-1000部、詩集に至っては 200-300部、多くて500部。これは日本の例だが他の国も変わらないのではないだろうか。しかも日本ではキャリアのある詩人でさえほとんどが自費出版だ。したがって個人詩集の場合、出版しても 詩人仲間の中で 献呈しあい、よくてもその書評が定期刊行されている詩誌にとりあげられるだけである。

2、Syndic の 挑戦

一切紙を使わず、販売、輸送ルートの開拓の必要もないインターネット上に登場した Syndic は 紙の本の常識を根底から覆した。それは 目を見張るものであった。環境にやさしいことはいうまでもないが、インターネット上という利点をフルに活用して詩作品には作者自身の朗読音声も聞けるようにした。 目と耳の両方から 味わえる音付きの本を可能にした。さらに写真、動画の投稿も可能だ。インターネット上の出版だからネットの環境さえあれば世界中どこにでも配信できる。作者も読者も一気に世界中に拡げてしまった。しかも閲覧無料だから新しい読者もどんどん増える。



Syndic の発行人であり編集者でもあるReLoy Chatfield氏は加えて優れた書き手でもある。編集方針の根底にある心は 氏自身がSyndic 中で書いているeasy essays の中に見つけることが出来る。そこには氏に影響を与えた人々が 数多く登場する。修道院生活と教え、そこから出て、実社会で出会ったその日のパンにも困っている路上の人々との出会い、強烈な影響をうけた農業労働組合運動にかかわる中で出会ったCesar Chavez 氏、時には刑務所の中にいる人との出会いさえ、学びの場となっている。Chatfield 氏は 目の前の社会の矛盾や底辺にいると思われる人々を見過ごさない、見捨てない行動の人である。共に声を上げていこうとするSyndicの編集方針がより深く伝わってくる。



一方で表現の手法としてChatfield 氏は 散文では easy essay,詩では spoken word と呼ぶ 新しい指針を示している。

その指針に沿って私にも自作品の朗読の録音を作品とともに提出せよ との条件が課せられた。朗読するうちに息継ぎの箇所が不自然になり、その結果、文字だけで書かれた作品の どこで切るか、どこで行替えしたらよいか が見えてきた。それは 聞き手、読み手に、より伝わりやすい表現を生むことにつながる。

文学の可能性、表現の可能性、人々と共に生きる可能性を 求めて LeRoy Chatfield 氏が作ったのが このインターネット出版という手法であり、表現の解放区 なのだと思う。

Syndic 10周年 おめでとうございます。この10年間 高い志を持った表現の解放区の中に 未熟者の私を 受け入れていただけたこと感謝で一杯です。

これからも既存の出版界の常識にとらわれない作者のための読者のための 人々のための挑戦をさらに5年、10年と続けてくださることと信じています。


追記 2011年3月のフクシマの史上最悪の原発事故直後に 詩友である ポーランド出身のDr.Mag Dariusz Pacak からお見舞いの温かなemailをいただいた。  当事国の詩人として私は同時進行で事故を書き残さなければいけないとも書かれていた。その時紹介してくださったのがSyndicだった。その詩人としての熱い友情に 今も深く感謝しています。また いつも日本語から美しい英訳の労をとってくれているアメリカ人、Mr.John Saxon、Dr.Deborah Saxon夫妻の存在、大きな友情がSyndicへの投稿を可能にしていることを書き添えておきたいと思います。   




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