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Experience | October 10, 2023

A Poem By the Sea

Poet Deborah Kolodji Gets Inspiration from Beach Terrace's Serene Surroundings

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While quietly enjoying the endless parade of waves, she messaged a photo she had taken of the ocean to her writing partner, Mariko Kitakubo, who resides in Mitaka-city, Tokyo, on the other side of the Pacific Ocean.   

Having met in 2007 at the Asilomar Haiku Conference in Pacific Grove, California, the two well-known poets struck up a friendship born of a love for the Japanese poetry forms tanka and haiku. The two released their first book together, Distance, a collection of tan-ku (a combination of both favorite forms of poetry) this past April on Shabda Press.   

Individually, Debbie and Mariko, have published thousands of poems and eight books between them. Mariko has presented her poetry in 54 different cities around the world, including countries as diverse as India, Tanzania, Switzerland, Germany, and Australia. Debbie, boasting a degree in mathematics from USC, has won multiple awards for her anthologies of haiku and senryu.   

“As I looked at the ocean, it occurred to me that she was on the others side of the of the horizon,” said Ms. Kolodji. The two started writing poetry together during 2020 when the isolation of the pandemic was at its most challenging point.  “Weaving our voices in these two types of poetry has been a journey of discovery,” notes the author.   

When Debbie decided to message Mariko this photo of a bird frolicking on the edge of the waves, the two authors reacted in a language they both speak, poetry.

A Bird On The Sand

Across the Sea 
      Mariko Kitakubo 
      Deborah P Kolodji 
the sea breeze. . . 
I am hiding 
in your shadow 
on the California beach 
my face towards you 
the tide comes in 
goes out 

“Collaborative poetry can bridge the distance and isolation,” concludes Ms. Kolodji about the physical distance between the friends. Although their poem, Across the Sea, is not featured in their soon-to-be released anthology of poetry, Distance, the book may be purchased here.