Takako Arai was born in 1966 in Kiryū, a city in central Japan known for textile production. Her father managed a small, cottage-style weaving factory located on the family property, and at its height, the factory employed a few dozen workers—mostly women—to produce the high-quality, finely woven silks that the town is known for. Many of Arai’s poems have a strong narrative quality and recount episodes relating to the lives of the women workers she observed while growing up. She is the author of three books of poetry in Japanese, and her second book, Tamashii Dansu (Soul Dance), won the Oguma Hideo Prize. Her work in English translation includes Four from Japan (Belladona Press, 2006), Soul Dance: Poems of Takako Arai (Mi’Te Press, 2008), and Poems of Hiromi Itō, Toshiko Hirata & Takako Arai (Vagabond Press, 2016). Author photo: Mizuho Fukahori.