I will be more myself in the next world is a collection of poems that are large by being small, diligently attending to the minutiae of domestic life and relationships with family and with the self. Dividing his book into seven sections, Masutani includes translations into his native Japanese for three of them, though he writes poetry in English after a suggestion from the poet and visual artist Roy Kiyooka (“Acknowledgements”). The structure of his book also takes guidance from Kiyooka, as each individual poem unfolds into the next as part of a longer thematic sequence, similar to Kiyooka’s serial style of poetry. Masutani is far from alone in claiming influence from Kiyooka, whose poetic works dating back to the 1960s serve in some ways as a precursor to a wider movement of Asian Canadian literature that began to flourish in the 1970s. It is a movement that Masutani has also been a contributor to, translating important works by Japanese Canadian authors such as Kiyooka and Hiromi Goto into their heritage language.
M. C. Warrior’s Disappearing Minglewood Blues documents his life working on the BC coast, as a logger, a fisherman (herring gillnet and salmon seine), and as a union activist. The poems are organized thematically and by work history; section titles signal each theme, such as “Bushed,” “At Sea,” and a section with union poems entitled “Revolutions are Festivals of the Repressed.” As a whole, this collection gives you the sense of a man with a notebook and a pencil in his pocket, recording field notes over the course of a working life, scribbling down impressions after a long day’s work, or during a break or shut down. He captures beautifully the rhythm and seasons of a working man, as well as the dark watchful atmosphere of the coastal rainforest.