Saturday, 18 of May of 2024

Nanao Sakaki in the News (2 items)

(Excerpt from HuffPo) “One hundred years from now Nanao will be considered the major poetic influence in Japan,” said Gary Snyder at a recent gathering in the late Nanao Sakaki’s honor. Considering the source, that’s very high praise indeed. But most Americans, even those who enjoy poetry, might well respond “Who?” And thus this little tribute, in honor of one of my very favorites.

I first came across Nanao Sakaki’s little book Break the Mirror (published first by North Point Press) by chance and it became an essential book for me, and one I gave as a gift many times. The first poem therein, “Happy Lucky Idiot” had me hooked from the start:

If you have time to chatter
Read books
If you have time to read
Walk into mountain, desert and ocean
If you have time to walk
Sing Songs and dance
If you have time to dance
Sit quietly, you Happy Lucky Idiot

Snyder, in his introduction to that little book, called Nanao “a uniquely free and bold-spirited wanderer, occasional river or mountain activist, singer and chanter and internationally published poet.” Now, five years after Nanao’s dying, a collection of his writing has finally appeared, titled How to Live on the Planet Earth.

Friends of Nanao,

On may 10 we had a publishing party for our book by Nanao Sakaki – How To Live On the Planet Earth. The event was sponsored by San Francisco State, and attended by over 200 people. Readers included Gary Snyder, Joanne Kyger, Michael McClure, Malcolm Margolin, Dale Pendell and Gary Lawless. Our friend Kush, from Cloud House, filmed the event, and is now turning that footage into a wonderful document, with a complete recording of the entire reading. Kush never has funding, so we are trying to help him raise some funding for the film. We are looking for donations and would of course love to find a donor willing to make a large donation to the project, but at this point we are also offerring, for a $40 donation, a complete 2 dvd recording of the event, sent priority to your door from cloud house, a full record of a wonderful celebration of Nanao’s life and poetry. You can reach Kush at cloud house, 1557 franklin street, san francisco, ca, 94109, phone 415-292-5554 or email

we are hoping that some of you will want to help in getting this wonderful event out and around, singing to the world.


Gary Lawless

Blackberry Books