18 March 1923|
|Died||26 August 1998
Kamakura, Kanagawa, Japan
Tamura was born in what is now Sugamo, Tokyo. After graduation from the Third Metropolitan Commercial High School, he was hired by Tokyo Gas, but quit work after only one day. He then continued his studies, and was a graduate of the Literature Department of Meiji University, where he met a group of young poets interested in modernism. He was drafted into the Imperial Japanese Navy in 1943, and although he did not see combat, the fact that many of his friends died in the war left him psychologically scarred.
In 1947, after World War II, he revived the literary magazine Arechi ("The Waste Land"), with his surviving school friends, and became an important figure in post-war modern Japanese poetry. He also began translation work of English language novels, starting with the works of Agatha Christie.
His first poetry anthology, Yosen no hi no yoru ("Four Thousand Days and Nights", 1956), introduced a hard tone to modern Japanese poetry, using paradoxes, metaphors, and sharp imagery to describe the sense of dislocation and crisis experienced by people who had suffered through the rapid modernization of Japan and the destruction of World War II. With the publication of Kotoba no nai sekai ("World Without Words", 1962), he was established as a major poet. He spent five months at the University of Iowa's International Writing Program in 1967-68 as Guest Poet. Later, he traveled to England, Scotland and India. These travel experiences filled another twenty eight volumes of poetry. He was awarded the prestigious Yomiuri Prize In 1984.
- World Without Words. Trans. Takako Uchino Lento. The Ceres Press (1971).
- Dead Languages: Selected Poems 1946-1984. Trans. Christopher Drake. Katdid Books (1984).
- Poetry of Ryuichi Tamura. Trans. Samuel Grolmes & Yukiko Tsumura. CCC Books (1998).
- "Tamura Ryuichi Poems, 1946 - 1998, Trans. Samuel Grolmes & Yukiko Tsumura. CCC Books (2000)
Publications in Japan
- Four Thousand Days and Nights (1956)
- The World Without Words (1962)
- Poetry of Ryuichi Tamura (1966)
- A Green Thought (1967)
- New Year’s Letter (1973)
- Dead Language (1976)
- Misunderstanding (1978)
- Water Hemisphere (1980)
- A Little Bird Laughed (1981)
- The Water Mills of Scotland (1982)
- Five Minutes to Go (1982)
- A Cheerful End of the Century (1983)
- The Joy of A Slave (1984)
- A Wine Red Summer Solstice (1985)
- A Poison Cup (1986)
- The Joy of Living (1988)
- From the New World (1990)
- My Sailing Journal (1991)
- Hummingbird (1992)
- The Ashen Colored Notebook (1993)
- Foxglove (1995)
- 1999 (1998)
- The Traveler Returned (1998)
- Tamura, Ryuichi. Poems 1946-1998. Trans. Samuel Grolmes & Tsumura Yumiko. CCC Press (2000). ISBN 0-9662832-1-X