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Alexandra Corrin-Tachibana

Sing Me Down from the Dark

Sing Me Down from the Dark


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Sing Me Down From the Dark explores the highs and lows of a ten-year sojourn in Japan, two international marriages, a homecoming, and the struggles of cross-cultural relationships. It is full of light and dark, as if the writer herself has been ‘caught off guard’ in the making of these poems.’

Praise for this Book

‘With a focus on her formative years in Japan, Corrin-Tachibana explores expectations on women in different cultures, in marriage, and motherhood. Love in all its unidealized difficulty is explored with humour and grittiness and is by turns spirited, suffocating, salty, sweary, sexy. Balancing belonging and the need to escape, Corrin-Tachibana questions where we can settle, and what we might settle for. Her poetic forms reflect this restlessly on the page – shifting, separating, compacting, conversing – as they risk trying to find and make a home.’ —Heidi Williamson

‘Charting a cross-cultural relationship through courtship, wedding and a marriage’s slow disintegration, this collection carries us across continents and years through love, disappointment and anger towards a new beginning. Vulnerable, direct and formally exact, these are generous, courageous and devastating poems that will draw you in, hold you close and leave you feeling wrung out but triumphant.’ —Jacqueline Saphra

‘In this compelling debut collection, Alexandra Corrin-Tachibana attempts to locate a common language between her native England and her adopted home of Japan. These poems are not merely travelogs, but deep dives into an unfamiliar culture where she is welcomed by her Japanese husband and in-laws, but also made conscious of her status as a Gaijin, a ‘red stranger’. Being an outsider allows the freedom of curiosity, and her vivid eye for detail and good humour make her an outstanding guide. This tone is maintained throughout the book – you could apply the term ‘confessional’, but to use a word that appears more than once, the poems are ‘honest’ and born from experience and consideration. Corrin-Tachibana is a poet who writes ‘to get close’ to things, and through her examinations we find our revelations.’ —Tamar Yoseloff

Reviews of this Book

‘t would be a mistake to read these poems as simply some form of confessional autobiography, this is so much more – there is a depth and honesty in the descriptions of behaviours and emotions which speaks far beyond the personal, immersing the reader in the complex and intimate confusions that are at the core of relationships. This is a collection which uses a well-crafted variety of forms, from Ghazal to prose poem, exposing the raw edges of social and cultural expectations of women within marriage and wider social settings.’ —Roger Bloor, The Alchemy Spoon

‘East and the West clash and merge in Alexandra Corrin-Tachibana’s debut collection. Japanese and European cultures criss-cross and interweave in family relationships, love, sex and food. Identity is in flux in a reality that is often blurred and uncertain. Rituals rule but are often ambiguous and confusing. The protagonist retraces ten years of her life in Japan, her marriage and the birth of her son. The memories are experienced at the threshold of two languages, moving from English to Japanese with the aid of translations. It is a cultural and physical movement from one place to the other that conveys a sense of displacement.’ —Carla Scarano D’Antonio, The High Window

‘Alexandra Corrin-Tachibana’s debut collection Sing Me Down from the Dark recounts her personal story over a period of time that included two international marriages. The poetic style throughout the book’s six untitled sections is strongly confessional, a style that is blended successfully with strong narrative threads and plenty of formal diversity, including innovative prose poetry, a ghazal (‘Ghazal for my husband, on International Women’s Day’), and a pantoum (‘ダーリンは外国人 “My Darling is a Foreigner”’).’ —Tim Murphy, The Friday Poem

‘Family life in Japan, the unravelling of two marriages, being an outsider: Alexandra Corrin-Tachibana draws on her own life and (spoiler alert!) a new relationship as inspiration for this collection. Energetic, richly detailed and varied in form, they make an absorbing debut. Holding the poems together is the theme of ‘home’: what and where it might be.’ —D. A. Prince, Orbis

‘One key point is Corrin-Tachibana’s acute awareness of the poem as artistic artefact rather than as an object that exists purely at the service of the poet’s own self-expression and sense of self-worth. This quality lifts Sing Me Down From the Dark out from the melee of contemporary poetry. It’s written with a reader in mind – something which might be assumed, but which is often relegated by numerous contemporary poets to an afterthought.’ —Matthew Stewart, Wild Court

Praise for Previous Work

‘Alexandra Corrin-Tachibana's poetry explores the nature of Japanese culture through sensual, well crafted, multilingual poems. Her beguiling poetry is thoroughly lived and utterly contemporary.’ —David Caddy, Tears in the Fence

‘‘Kotoshi mo Yoroshiku’, which I came across judging an anonymous poetry competition, is a formally innovative and exciting poem, which still maintains a sense of heart and intimacy.’ —Andrew McMillan

‘Many of Alexandra Corrin-Tachibana’s poems are informed by her experience of living in Japan for ten years, so she writes through the lens of a resident who is also an outsider. Her poems are not interested in the exotic postcard view of the country, but in the everyday, the ordinary, and how she places herself into these small rituals.’ —Tamar Yoseloff

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