SBP Blog

Stone Bridge Cafe: "Tsundoku"

Thomas Joel - Thursday, May 17, 2018

Stone Bridge Cafe is a bi-weekly online series from Stone Bridge Press devoted to bringing readers short stories, poems, non-fiction pieces, photographs, and artwork from and/or about East Asia. For submission guidelines and info, follow the link at the bottom of this post.

This week's aesthetic appetizer is a poem

 by Victoria Crawford that's highly-relatable to many of us literature lovers. 

An English response in poetry to the titular Japanese concept of "tsundoku"

a word that 

roughly translates into "book hoarding" or books impulsively bought but never read


poem waxes lyrical about the endless 

yearning to buy more books than can be physically read in a lifetime, taking the perspective of the tsundoku to explore the absurdity of consumerism, the often fleeting nature of human desire and the emptiness it so often leaves behind. 

A new book, wrapping removed,
on the coffee table, receipt stuck inside,
did you read the description or thumb
through the first pages, tenderly holding
the spine, certain this was a must have?
I carry it upstairs to join
abandoned brothers exiled
to your night table.
Dust colonizes volumed country
as new stacks appear and the old
are forsaken to a receding half-life.
Am I another of your tsundoku,
discovered and cherished in quick passion?
I am first on the coffee table of attention,
then fading unwrapped on the nightstand.
Shelved, am I a respectable hardback,
spine stroked, then ignored. Like other loves,
will I decay in your indifference?



Connecting people, nature, cultures, geography, and languages in poetry is a form of creating beauty and sharing joy in the interrelatedness for poet Victoria Crawford. She currently lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand and has been published in a number of journals such as Wildflowers Muse, Peacock Journal, Ekphrastic Review, Eastlit, The Lyric Review, and The Ibis Head Review.

If you would like to submit your own work to Stone Bridge Cafe, follow this link for submission info and guidelines:

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