Jonathan contributed two pieces to New Sun Rising: “Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall” and “Ueno Park”.
He speaks to us about his work below.
What was the inspiration behind your pieces?
I was traveling through Japan and, in the case of the first poem, was awestruck by the sight of what had once been the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall. Only a skeletal shell of it remains to serve as a reminder of what was unleashed that day. Along with the horror, there was also an eerie beauty about the scene, how nature reclaims these places of destruction. The second poem arose from a visit to Ueno Park, which is akin to New York City’s Central Park: An enormous oasis of designed nature in the heart of a metropolis.
Why did you decide to donate this to charity?
Like most people, the tsunami left me feeling powerless. Being so far-removed physically and thus unable to remove debris and search for survivors by hand, I came across New Sun Rising and found a form in which I could offer my small modicum of assistance.
What sorts of works/genres/ materials do you normally produce?
I’m primarily a poet. In the past, I dabbled in novels and short stories, but not much came of that. I’ve simply gravitated towards poetry over time and am very happy I have.
What attracted you to this?
Upon hearing about New Sun Rising, I thought it very serendipitous: Here was someone searching for contributors to help in the wake of the tsunami, and I had written a fairly large group of poems about Japan a few years earlier. I couldn’t think of a better place for these poems to appear in.
Who are your models or those you draw inspiration from?
Everyday people. Family members. My wife. A lot of my inspiration also comes from nature and from simple daily observation. And of course, other poets have been a huge inspiration for me, but to name all of them would take up several pages at the least.
What are you working on right now?
I’m working on a series of poems exploring the relationship between time and space, though they tend to range freely across all subject matters.
Where can I find some of your other works?