Sep 6

JET poet Warren Decker in lineup for Isobar Press 10th anniversary event

Posted by Tom Baker

JET alum and poet Warren Decker will be in the lineup at an Oct. 14 event in Nagoya to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Isobar Press. He and other poets will read from and discuss their work as part of this year’s Japan Writers Conference. The conference, which is free, will take place in Nagoya on Oct. 14-15.

Here’s the official description of the Isobar event:

Isobar Press: Tenth Anniversary Reading

The first publication from Isobar Press, a small press specialising in English-language poetry and poetic translation from Japan, was a book by founder Paul Rossiter, From the Japanese; it was published on 14 October 2013. Ten years and forty-five books later, on 14 October 2023, eight poets and translators published by Isobar, each with their own strikingly different style, gather from Miyazaki, Kobe, Osaka, Shizuoka, Tsukuba and Tokyo to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the press. Paul Rossiter will speak briefly about the history of the press and the motivation behind it, and each author will briefly introduce and read from their work. We hope you will join us for this celebratory reading!

Paul Rossiter has published eleven books of poetry since 1995. After retiring from teaching at the University of Tokyo, he founded Isobar Press, which specialises in publishing English-language poetry from Japan, and English translations of modernist and contemporary Japanese poetry. More information can be found at:

For biographies of the individual readers, please see their author pages on the Isobar Press website:
Janine Beichman:
Yoko Danno:
Warren Decker:
Gregory Dunne:
Jane Joritz Nakagawa:
Philip Rowland:
Eric Selland:
Christopher Simons:

Sep 13

Posted by Tom Baker

Warren Decker and Michael Frazier are two JET poets living in Japan who will each be hosting a workshop at the Oct. 10-11 Japan Writers Conference. This year’s conference is being held online, so you don’t need to be in Japan to attend. For details, see Official descriptions of the workshops appear below.

Warren Decker

Pterodactylic Pentagrameter: Working with Rhyme and Meter

Craft Workshop


In this workshop we will focus on poetry that incorporates rhyme and meter. As a participant, please bring 2-10 lines of rhymed and metered poetry for us to discuss. Please also be ready to share your unique techniques for finding the right meter and rhymes for your poetic lines.

Paradoxically, the confines of rhyme and meter can often serve to open unexpected creative doors. One who sets out to write about “fractals” may find “pterodactyls” swooping into their poem. Maintaining a regular pattern of stressed and unstressed beats might lead a poet—after many hours at the keyboard—feeling as though a supernatural rhythmic force is guiding them to choose the perfect words and in the perfect order. 

In this workshop, while looking at specific examples of rhyme and meter as exhibited in the participants’ samples, we will collectively attempt to recall the wonderful technical terminology describing syllabic meter (for example: “iambic pentameter,” and “dactylic tetrameter”), but also consider looser and more intuitive accentual poetic rhythms. 

Furthermore, we will discuss the incredible variation contained within the seemingly simple concept of “rhyme,” focusing on concrete examples to understand how and why certain rhymes work.

Warren Decker has published poetry, fiction and non-fiction in The Best American Poetry 2018, NOON, The Font, Frogpond, Modern Haiku, Acorn, The New Ohio Review, THINK, Sou’wester, Fifth Wednesday, and several other online and print journals. He also performs his poetry online and in front of live audiences in Osaka.

Michael Frazier
I AM MY FAMILY (a persona workshop)
Craft Workshop

This is a poetry workshop (open to writers of all genres) who are interested in writing about and through their family. We will use the persona form—writing in the voice of family members—to interrogate ourselves. Some poets we’ll look at include Natalie Diaz, Paul Tran, and Julian Randall.

No one can move forward without looking back at where they’ve come from. This is the principle that guides this workshop. Persona poetry is poetry in the voice of someone, or thing, other than ourselves: shiba inu, wild iris, Sailor Moon, Kanye West, or even your bed. We will use the persona to focus on and interrogate our own families and make meaning out of the relationships that have formed us. In order to embody the voices of our family (biological or chosen) we must practice radical empathy. While a persona is in the voice of someone else, my hope is that in the poems we will write, we will turn inwards and learn something new about ourselves. We will look at writers who wield the persona and voices of their family with urgency like Paul Tran, Yalie Kamara, Hiwot Adilow, K-Ming Chang, Natalie Diaz, and Eduardo C. Corral.

Michael Frazier is a poet in Kanazawa. He graduated from NYU, where he was the 2017 poet commencement speaker & co-champion of CUPSI. He’s performed at venues including Nuyorican Poets Café & Lincoln Center. On staff at The Adroit Journal, his poems appear in COUNTERCLOCK, Construction, Visible Poetry Project, among others.

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