Read the Japanese Poetry Workshop

Read the Japanese Poetry Workshop

with Graham Fawcett

£40 for workshop. £55 workshop and Japanese lunch cooked by Shige Takezoe
Tuesday 10 September 10.30am – 4.30pm

Ono no Komachi

The great 9th century poet Ono no Komachi drawn by Kikuchi Yōsai

Reading The Japanese day is a day for readers and writers of poetry. We start with a 4th-century empress’s beautiful lyrics and centuries of folk poems bristling with myth and history, discover Japanese poetry’s most consummate voices, and open Japan’s miraculous first anthology, the Man’yoshu, one of whose star turns, Princess Nukada, single-handedly revolutionised the nation’s poetry by her authentic individual voice. Through fifteen hundred prolific years, we explore why Japanese poets prefer autumn, how the haiku was perfected by Basho, and what gave Japan’s poets such power over 20th-century America and the poetry of Pound, Creeley and Amy Lowell.

From 10am: arrive, coffee

Morning – Japanese Olden Times

1030-1125 Princess Nukada and the reign of women in poetry

1125-1140 Break

1140-1235 Basho the Haiku master

1235 Pre-lunch drinks

1300-1430 Japanese lunch and short reading over coffee

Afternoon – Japanese Modern Times and the American Connection

1430-1520 Modern Japanese Poets from 1868 to the present day

1520-1545 Tea break

1545-1630 Intoxicated by Japan – Amy Lowell, Adeline Crapsey, Ezra Pound, Kenneth Rexroth, Gary Snyder, Robert Creeley, and Basil Bunting

From Graham Fawcett’s ‘Read The Japanese Workshop’: If his poem in praise of daffodils is the introduction most mortals have to Wordsworth, usually the first wonder of the Japanese poetic world to reach most Western readers is a haiku. This is the light-as-a-feather, deep-as-a-flowing-stream 17-syllable form we take such complicated pride in either writing or grasping – the short-distance counting, the brilliance of the blinding flash, over before you know it, the poet’s equivalent of the concert pianist’s particularly wonderful twiddly bit but in the case of a haiku it’s a twiddly bit that can stand alone and amounts to a whole melody, a word-drama which, for all its brevity, does have a beginning, a middle and an end – and which we so delight in reading, to be taken aback and then taken back, through the poem, by that twist in the haiku’s tail that promptly wags the whole dog and we marvel to retrace the poet’s steps backwards and understand how he – or she – made it come to this from what had seemed like something descriptive but nothing especially promising:


Exhausted, I sought

a country inn, and found

wisteria in bloom


writes the medieval Japanese haiku-master Basho, treating us his readers to the regenerative surprise of the blossoming wisteria after we had already become exhausted with him and much in need of a country inn to rest at . . .”

Entertaining broadcaster, educator, translator and public speaker, Graham Fawcett has been a tutor for The Poetry School since 1997, devising and teaching new courses on poetry past and present from around the world. He has written and presented radio programmes about literature and music on BBC Radio 3 for many years.

Please phone 01308 459511 now to book tickets.

Graham Fawcett is also giving an evening lecture on Baudelaire on Thursday 5 September at 6 for 6.30pm with supper afterwards.  Tickets: £10/£20 with supper.

One Response to Read the Japanese Poetry Workshop

  1. Pingback: Japanese Poetry Day and or Japanese Lunch Tuesday 10th | Sladers Yard

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