The thoughts of Coal Sack Corporation

By president Hisao Suzuki

What sack is COAL SACK? I've sometimes been asked with searching eyes. Please imagine what it is, reading the following sentences.

When we meet with a spiritual crisis in our society in the midst of our age, and when we are filled with an empty feeling, losing our emotions and are surprised at going through the loss of the meaning of living, the art activities, including poetry and other literary works, enable us to notice the fundamental power to live again in depth. These art activities, including poems, have something radical which can be accessed in the depth of our mind that superficial politics and economics can't reach. In the source of art is there a poetic spirit which gives those who are in the adversity the hope and joy of living. How can I offer the artistic works which embody such a spirit not only to some art fans but also to many ordinary people who need them? I continue to think about this question, and I've one answer: the establishment of COAL SACK Publishing Company.

COAL SACK Publishing Company started with a private publisher where I, Hisao Suzuki, a son of a coal dealer, edited and published a poetry magazine "Coal Sack" in December in 1987. The term "Coal Sack" can be found in a fairly tale "The Night of Galaxy Railway" by Kenji Miyazawa, it means a black hole or a dark nebula. Kenji considered it as the entrance to another dimension or to the "true happiness", and tried to get to it with everyone. The first aim of the magazine was to look for inspired poets who have the same poetic spirit as Kenji Miyazawa, and to pack their poems like raw stones in the big sack named COAL SACK. And I planned to create a place of art where people read, appreciate, and discuss poems which have been written under the joy and anguish of our age, and to deliver poetic culture deepened there, in order to let readers' soul burn up with the fire of poetry. I wanted to implement a poetry-magazine movement to pass down excellent poets, offering workshops for a critique and poetics to support such poets. Thus the poetry magazine "COAL SACK", which will have issued to No. 69 in June 2011, has been published three times a year for around a quarter century. It has so grown that 90 to 100 poets all over Japan contribute poems, poetics, and essays to it with each issue.

Meanwhile we planned and edited "CHISHOU HAMADA complete poems" (Honda planning) in 2001, to pass down CHISHOU HAMADA, an outstanding poet. And we also planned and edited "EIKICHI NARUMI complete poems" by EIKICHI NARUMI (Honda planning) in 2002, who had contributed his poems with every issue until 2000, when he died. We established a workshop on EIKICHI NARUMI in 2003, and held the 5th workshop in 2010. We hope to continue the movement to pass down excellent poets, make a plan for and feature unknown but good poets, and realize a lively field for writing poems.

COAL SACK Publishing Company was reorganized from a private establishment to a business company as a special publisher for poetics, critiques, and art books in August in 2006. The first work as a business company was to publish "Long Verse Little Boy" by KO YONHILL, a Korean poet, which had been translated regularly for COAL SACK for 7 years, and "The Rich of Water" by TOSHIO YAMAMOTO, an advisory poet of COAL SACK. Publishing the book by KO YONHILL was the first job by COAL SACK Publishing Company, which symbolized the spirit of it, because we have hoped to support poets who are looking for a common "home of poetry" which expands from the base of their hometowns to that of far off lands. COAL SACK Publishing Company will be five years old in August in 2011. Up to now we have planned, edited and published a hundred or so poetry books, poetics books and essays, including "Against nuclear Weapons: A Collection of Poems by 181 poets", "the Great Air Attacks: A Collection of Poems by 310 poets" and "Requiem: A Collection of Poems by 404 poets."

The poetry magazine "COAL SACK" had been edited from the first issue to the 66th issue solely by Hisao Suzuki, and has been co-edited with Kenichi Saso, a poet, since the 66th in April 2010 to the 69th issue. Kenichi Saso planned and edited "The Mind, Fresh Poets Library" and published "The Life Rope" by Ayumu Akutsu, a poet and book designer of COAL SACK Publishing Company, as one of the library books in September 2010. And he has also published 6 poetry books by excellent fresh poets, who have built their own poetic worlds, as a part of the library series for the last 6 months. I hope to create a new publishing culture with these young staff.

The Touhoku Kantoh Region Earthquake Disaster has claimed the lives of more than 30000 people since 3.11 in 2011 and has still been forcing many people, including refugees from Fukushima nuclear plant, to camp out in various places. We are editing a new collection called "Lives in Danger: A Collection of Poem by 311 poets," whose poems have been collected from the public, to respond to the thoughts of those who are managing to rebuild their lives positively and to live collaboratively, whilst suffering from the greatest earthquake disaster on record. We're going to publish it this summer and hope to encourage as much as possible those who are struggling against the new reality after this crisis of life.

We at COAL SACK Publishing Company hope to put the "true happiness" inside us into "COAL SACK," seemingly as "the coal sack in the universe", but it is in fact as the sack of lives, and to think about the new age with a lot of contributors and participants.

Hisao Suzuki, president

(c) 2011 COALSACK Co.,Ltd. All rights reserved.