Last chance to catch Sketches from the Poem Road exhibition

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Sketches from the Poem Road

This week will be the last chance to catch Sketches from the Poem Road in the Glass Tank at Oxford Brookes University.

The exhibition features art by Isao Miura and poetry by Chris Beckett and explores the rich legacy of work by the 17th century Japanese poet Matsuo Bashō.  In spring 1689, Basho sold his house in Edo (now Tokyo) and set off with his friend, Sora, on a long risky journey to the north of Japan, mostly on foot. He travelled light with just a paper coat, a light cotton gown, his writing brush and ink. His aim was to see the great northern sights like Matsushima and Kisagata Bay which had inspired poets before him. This is a process the Japanese call ‘uta makura’, literally ‘poem pillow’, but more accurately translated as ‘the poem road’. 

The exhibition explores Bashō’s work both poetically and visually and documents some of Isao’s artistic and physical journey from the deep north of Japan where he grew up, translating Bashō’s text not only into English words but into sketch, plaster and bronze. 

We have had the opportunity to meet and guide many people along our Poem Road, exploring the inspiration behind the show, and have been touched by their enthusiastic and perceptive responses.

Isao Miura, Artist, Sketches from the Poem Road

Isao Miura said: “We are delighted to exhibit our Sketches from the Poem Road, in the wonderfully open and inviting Glass Tank at Oxford Brookes University. 

“We have had the opportunity to meet and guide many people along our Poem Road, exploring the inspiration behind the show, and have been touched by their enthusiastic and perceptive responses.”

A series of free events have accompanied the exhibition since it opened last month including artist talks and Japanese writing workshops. This evening (12 July) 6.00pm-8.00pm, the Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre and internationally-renowned experts will deliver a stimulating evening of talks and discussion on the subject of artistic and literary translation. 

An evening of poetry and haibun (a Japanese literary form combining prose and haiku) readings will officially close the exhibition on Friday (15 July) 6.00pm-8.00pm. 

Both events are free and open to all and will take place in the Glass Tank on the Headington Campus.