Duet of water

Two poetesses bridge the language gap and celebrate life as a universal experience of mankind

Two sensitive yet strong poetic voices unite in a remarkable literary project: “Duet of water (Western-Eastern poetry in sympathy)”.

The poetesses Donatella Bisutti (Italy) and Chiyo Kitahara (Japan) bridge the language gap and open up soul worlds. Using images of water, they skilfully tell about change, love and passion. All poems are presented in their original language and an English translation.

The word and the mystery

Donatella Bisutti, a poet, writer and journalist, was awarded the Italian literary prize Premio Letterario Camaiore in 2012. She says about the influences on her poetic work: “As a child, I firmly believed one thing: that the mystery exists but we do not have to find out, because revealing it would also mean losing it. I discovered that to glimpse this mystery – however without ceasing it to be such  – could serve poetry very well. My aim is to investigate this mystery using the tools of poetry. While doing so it is important to keep in mind the words of the famous Romanian philosopher Lucian Blaga: Knowledge can only conceal the mystery or recognize it as such.”

Images of water: life as a universal experience of mankind

Poetess Chiyo Kitahara has published 4 poetry books so far. She was awarded the 67. Mr. H prize for contemporary Japanese poetry in 2017. She says about the influence on her work: “I like to think of my books as individual projects, and I want them different in style and topic. Each is based on or influenced by a different idea or concept, such as literary realism or the idea of genius loci. Genius loci means “spirit of a place”, but is often used in an abstract way, referring to the atmosphere or impression of a place.

For ‘A River of Pearls – BarrocoI have worked with images of a river and of water. They symbolise life. So the poems are about life, ‘the life’ of us all. Memories of childhood, adolescence and blossom, pregnancy, parenting, and aging are carved into our body and our heart. However, I didn’t write poems about my personal memories. The impact of our memories on our body and heart is a universal experience of mankind.

Chiyo Kitahara’s next book is an essay dedicated to Atsuko Suga, a multicultural writer and leading translator of Japanese literature into Italian. Atsuko Suga went to Europe in the 1950s for her studies. One of her main ideas was that intercultural barriers can be overcome by respect for cultural identities and acknowledgement of differences.

Read more about Chiyo Kitahara here and here.

The translations of the poems for Duet of Water were provided by Mariko Sumikura, Cristina Banella, Steven Grieco Rathgeb and Anna M. Thane. Brian Williams did the proof reading for the English translations of Chiyo Kitahara’s poems.

Two excerpts from Duet of Water

Deads Leaves

They float upon the clear water
of spring.
Winter’s harvest.

(by Donatella Bisutti)


In the garden of night        I touch the cinnamon tree
Embrace it with both arms        eat the fragrance

I long to be brought to sound        my organ, mouth wide open

Shaking the cinnamon tree         I untangle my hair
The inner feeling clears and        perceives the fountain’s level

Scooping fingers spilled
Afraid to measure the water level        I noticed that from the inner abyss
Less dark than when it was once full         the water’s scent is strong

It must surely be a letter?
Light from Deneb and Vega        on the water
Carving shadows
It exposes your words and
By itself my organ sounds

I am in the garden       and so

I can breathe my answer               and it will carry

(by Chiyo Kitahara)


Duet of water is available in leading online shops.