Encounters Across Cultures
The issues addressed all look ‘beyond Ireland’. In considering the creative frictions and fictions that result from the dissolving of old loyalties, these essays examine contested concepts such as ‘the nation’, and attempt to shed light on global forces that demand cultural re-definitions and transformations. The world order that let loose the Celtic Tiger has brought, together with a diversified Ireland, new forms of dependence. It is one of the main aims of this book to explore how Irish writers have regarded this diversification and contested that dependence.
Charles I. Armstrong Drinking Tea, Drawing Ideograms and Making Waves: Pursuing the ‘Japanese Ef fect’ in Irish Poetry 11
Charles I. Armstrong Drinking Tea, Drawing Ideograms and Making Waves: Pursuing the ‘Japanese Ef fect’ in Irish Poetry What happens when an Irish poet sits down to write a poem about Japan? Is the result satisfyingly described as an encounter of two autonomous cultures, which are separate and yet able to communicate or overlap with one another? Or are more encompassing ideological, and conceptually fuzzier, borders at stake? And what conceptual and interpretative frame- works are mobilized when the Japanese dimension that is being evoked is, quite specifically, a work of art or an artistic experience of some kind? The appearance of a recent volume of Irish poems responding to Japanese art and society, published in celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of diplomatic relations between Ireland and Japan, has made the asking of such questions both easier and more urgent. Edited by Irene de Angelis and Joseph Woods, the book in question is titled Our Shared Japan: An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry,1 and includes of ferings from no less than eighty-five Irish poets. Most of the poems that will be discussed here are included in it. After a general preamble on the issue of the cul- tural encounter of Japan and Ireland in verse, I will deal specifically with some of Sinéad Morrissey’s Japanese poems, before going on to look at two responses to Hokusai’s famous image of The Great Wave. In the final part of this essay, poems dwelling on the Japanese tea ceremony...
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