Thursday, April 30, 2009



{NB: I just received a note about this and wanted to pass it along; yes, this is real, and it is serious, so if you think there's anything you could do to help, please do}:

(note that you can go to for the most up-to-date information.)

Craig Arnold, whom some of you know, has gone missing on a small volcanic island in Japan while on a creative exchange fellowship. Craig, an experienced explorer of volcanoes, never returned to his inn after leaving alone to research the island’s active volcano for the afternoon. The authorities are on the third day of searching for Craig, and are scouring the small island (of only 160 inhabitants) with dogs and helicopters. If he is not found by the end of the day, the authorities will call off the search.

We need your help to insure that the search will continue. The island and areas surrounding the volcano are small enough that an extended search will surely lead to Craig’s discovery.WE NEED PEOPLE TO CONTACT THEIR LOCAL CONGRESSPEOPLE AND SENATORS TO PRESSURE THE JAPANESE STATE DEPARTMENT TO CONTINUE THE SEARCH. WE ALSO NEED HELP SPARKING MEDIA ATTENTION FOR THIS STORY, WHICH WE ALSO HOPE MIGHT INCREASE PRESSURE ON JAPANESE AUTHORITIES TO FIND CRAIG. A document with background information about Craig is available, as well as information about the details leading up to his disappearance as well as about the island itself.

If any of you have ideas or know people who might be able to help, please take a minute to contact your senator and congressperson via telephone or even email to explain this problem and insist on their help.

We are so hoping to find Craig today, God-willing not seriously injured. If so, this will not be an issue, but we must ensure that if this isn’t resolved today, Craig doesn’t end up an unsolved mystery. He is too important to too many people, not to mention to arts and letter generally, for this to happen.”

The University of Wyoming (where Craig teaches) is taking an active interest in the search and Wyoming Senators are apparently in contact with the Japanese consulate. But: help is STILL needed and appreciated.

Also: There is a "Find Craig Arnold" Facebook page. Please join for updates and news.

Craig Arnold, Ph.D., is the author of two award-winning volumes of poetry: Shells, chosen by W.S. Merwin for the Yale Series of Young Poets in 1999, and of Made Flesh (Ausable, 2008). His poetry has been anthologized in several volumes of the Best American Poetry Series, and his poems, articles, and translations from the Spanish have appeared in such publications as The New Republic, Paris Review, Poetry Magazine, Yale Review, and many more. He is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards and honors, including a Fulbright Fellowship, the Joseph Brodsky Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Alfred Hodder Fellowship in Humanities from Princeton University, an Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Scholarship, and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Dr. Arnold did his B.A. at Yale University and received his Ph.D. from the University of Utah. He is presently an Assistant Professor at the University of Wyoming. Craig is currently in Japan with the U.S.-Japan Friendship Commission's U.S.-Japan Creative Artists Exchange Fellowship and has been missing since April 26th (evening Monday April 27th Japanese time).


Monday April 27th (Japanese time) he arrived with the 2:50 pm municipal ferry from Yakusima on the island of Kuchino-erabu and checked in to the local "Watanabe" inn, the only one on the island. He was with 2 Japanese tourists who had reservations. He did not have one. (They must have helped him check in.) He had traveled to the island to visit the volcano, as he has been working on a book on the subject of volcanoes for some time.

His plan was to stay only one night and leave the next day. (Craig has visited many volcanoes around the world in recent years as is very experienced with visiting them.)

He immediately left his 3 bags at the inn and departed around 3 pm on foot to the next village, taking only his walking sticks. He was wearing black or dark colors: long pants, a dark hat, a nylon jacket. His Japanese iPhone was on his person but has not been reachable due to inconsistent reception on the island. The exclusive provider of IPhone service, Softbank, has been contacted by the police in an attempt to utilize the built-in GPS capabilities of the phone.

At the village, someone with a car drove him to the entrance to the path leading up the mountain to the volcano. There are 4 paths to the volcano which are obvious and in good condition. He was taken to the entrance of a path next to a dam where evidence collected by the police suggests he ascended. His footprints have been found. The police have not found evidence of a return trip along that path. The area is densely forested until reaching the summit area, caldera, of the volcano where there is little vegetation.

The police stated that the path to that area is clear but that finding the path on the descent could pose problems so it is likely that he may not have found his way back to the path he entered by.

When Craig did not return to the inn by 8 pm, the inn staff searched for him by car, driving to the village. Unsuccessful, they returned to the inn and called the local fire brigade at 9 pm who responded immediately and searched until midnight.

Day 2 (Tues, April 28 JT) 5 police officers (under the direction of Mr. Kazuhara) arrived from Yakusima that morning with new assets: cars, search dogs, police persons, a helicopter. 40 total persons now working on this: 30 local fire reserve persons and 10 police persons and officials. They searched the trail he took but did not complete an exhaustive search of all 4 trails. One individual climbed all the way to the top. The area was circled several times by the helicopter and they also flew around the coastline. I contacted them directly at the end of the 2nd search day: 6:30pm. (5:30 am this morning, Wed April 29th U.S. time). They were debriefing and planning for day 3, with a plan to concentrate on the possible alternative paths down from the volcano that he may have taken by mistake and the surrounding area.

Day 3, the official required last day of the search, begins tonight. They are only required by law to search for 3 days. Extension procedures must be arranged with Mr. Kawahigashi and may require payment. Other than the helicopter, no higher level assets have been deployed at this time. Since the focus is on a "boots-on-the-ground" search and rescue (the forest makes visibility from the air limited) more people should be deployed immediately to assist.


Kuchino-erabusima (various transliterations possible shima, jima):

Volcanic island 14.5 square km. Spring weather conditions, temp drops at night but not to freezing. Has not rained since Craig went missing. Fresh water available.

reachable by municipal ferry from Yakushima

Police based in Yakushima

Hospital on Yakushima

Airport on Yakushima connects to Kagoshima, major city.



The following people only speak Japanese with a thick regional accent:

The search and rescue operation is being led by

Town Officer: Mr. Kawahigashi

cel: 81-(0)90-7162-8404 / office tel: 81-(0)997-49-2100

(last spoke with him 7:05 am NYC time) They were preparing to debrief from

Day 2 of the search and prepare their plan for Day 3.

Day 3 begins tonight, Wednesday April 29. (= morning Thurs, April 30 Japanese time)

The Yakusima police officer on the case: Officer Kuzuhara: 81-(0)997-462110

he is on the neighboring island Yakusima, not the island where Craig is lost.


The process is currently stalled at the Fukuoka Consulate level with

Mark Baron (cel: 81-90-30143802) working under Margot Carrington

(Fukuoka Consulate office tel: 81-92-751-9331)

The Tokyo Embassy # is 81-(0)3-3224-5000 and the interim Charge d’Affairs is James P. Zumwalt

Local U.S.-Japan Friendship Commission Contact TOKYO:

Christopher Blasdel

Cel: 81-90-9362-9914

Home: 81-3-3309-0403

Executive Director of U.S.-Japan Friendship Commission:

From: Eric Gangloff

Dr. Eric J. Gangloff

Executive Director

Japan-US Friendship Commission

1201 15th Street NW, Suite 330

Washington, DC 20005

(202) 653-9800

(202) 653-9802 fax


Kadena Air Force Base, Okinawa under the command of Pacific Air Force (PACAF)

NAVY: Commander Fleet Activities Okinawa:

Naval hospital:

Saturday, April 25, 2009

lol poets

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Video of me reading at the Stain of Poetry Reading Series last month:

All the people I read with that night were wonderful, if you have the time I'd suggest checking them out (here's a page with all the readers from that night, and readings previous as well). Ana and Amy run a great series, much thanks to them for having me to read, I enjoyed it immensely.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


(h/t Goblin Mercantile Exchange)

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