Terry Watada crafts an artful mix of Buddhist tradition, Japanese-infused language and rich cultural history, where death is but one stop in the cyclical, timeless nature of a life. His is a warm tribute to the thin veil between worlds where sorrow is as transient as happiness. Obon: The Festival of the Dead is a celebration of people who endure through poverty and prejudice while they deftly and memorably evoke the traditions that redeem and define them. Deploying a remarkable balance between line and space, Watada’s span of syntax and diction are striking. Whether writing about drug addiction, forced labour, jazz, or the reveries of Japanese values, Watada measures the impact of each poem as carefully as a well-placed stone in the Ryoan-ji, or an arranged paper lantern in the Urabon. Obon: The Festival of the Dead is honest communion that bids ancestral voices to speak from every page, spreading their illumination long after the poetic moment, long after the season of Obon has ended.