Poet goes missing while exploring Japanese volcano

Posted on May 1, 2009 by

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I received the below e-mail from a friend. A very talented photographer, and a fine writer in her own right.  She wrote to inform us that her friend, poet Craig Arnold, went missing yesterday while exploring on Kuchino-erabu-shima, a small volcanic island in Japan.  She is asking that we take a minute to write our congressmen and ask them to petition the Japanese government to keep the search active.  Please, if you have a moment, click the link, below, enter you zip code, and paste the form letter into your congressman’s mail program. Or, if you feel so inclined, write one yourself. Craig’s friends and family would appreciate it.

Hello all,

I am writing with a very personal request. My sophomore year in college, I took a creative writing class at UT with Craig Arnold where my love of writing poetry was solidified. He was a mentor to me and his encouragement and feedback was absolutely critical in helping me to find my voice (as cheesy as that might sound). After that class, we became friends and kept in touch over the years. Last year, we reconnected when I took the author photo for his book “Made Flesh.”

Yesterday I found out that Craig has gone missing. He had been hiking around a volcano in Japan and never returned to the inn he was staying at. The search for Craig is supposed to go through Sunday, but if they don’t find him by then, they might not keep looking. I’m writing to ask you to please write your Congressperson to request that they keep the search going as long as it takes. It might be futile but it is the only thing I have any power to do to help him right now and I figure by getting as many of my friends, family, and colleagues to write as possible, maybe the extra pressure could help even if it’s just a fraction. I feel absolutely sick over this and just hope that there’s still some chance he’ll make it home alive.

If you are open to writing, you can visit this link (https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml) to figure out who your congressperson is, and I’m pasting a form letter into the email below.

Thanks in advance,
Amanda

Links to news reports:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=103675357
http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/04/30/japan.missing.professor/
http://www.statesman.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/austin/books/entries/2009/04/30/craig_arnold_missing.html
http://papercuts.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/04/30/missing-poet/
http://www.pw.org/content/american_poet_on_fellowship_missing_in_japan

Form letter (You may copy and paste this when writing your congressperson.)

“I am writing to you to express my concern for an exceptionally talented American poet, Craig Arnold, who has gone missing on a small volcanic island in Japan called Kuchino-erabu-shima 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 fifth 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 Sunday, the authorities will call off the search. We cannot let there be a lag in this search while finding Craig alive is still a real possibility.

I am writing to ask for your help in pressuring 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.

Craig Arnold is a national treasure of the arts and letters, an inspiring and exciting poet who must be found. Any pressure we can put on the Japanese to continue the search is critical to our efforts. Time is of the essence. The island and areas surrounding the volcano are small enough that an extended search will surely lead to Craig’s discovery.

Thank you so much, Congressperson ___________ , for your interest, support, and help.”

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