Thursday, 6 July 2006, 12:00AM

Japanese Women in Tanka Poetry: from the 4th to the 13th Century

Ria Ulleri, Dr Hisashi Nakamura

Hisashi Nakamura and Ria Ulleri introduced the poetic world of Tanka - an ancient form of Japanese poetry - together with slides of pieces of art which have been designed to reflect the poetry.

Next lecture in the City of London Festival series was Jiuta – an explanation of traditional Japanese music

dr-hisashi-nakamura

Hisashi Nakamura was born in a village in the mountains of central Japan in 1950. His first job was as a customs officer at the busy port of Nagoya. He has been writing poetry from an early age and at the age of 22 he won a national poetry competition in Japan.

In recent years he has been experimenting with writing tanka poems in English, strictly following 5-7-5-7-7 syllabic units, and translating classical tanka compiled in Japan between the late 8th century and 1205. His recent publications include The Floating Bridge: Tanka Poems in English.

In 1988 he settled in York, UK, and was awarded a PhD (Peace Studies) at Bradford University in 1994. He works at York St John University where he promotes educational and cultural exchanges between the UK and Japan while teaching tanka poetry and introducing Japanese culture to students taking Fine Art or Creative Writing.

In 2004 Dr Nakamura initiated the establishment of the Anglo-Japanese Tanka Society, which now has members in 18 countries. At the moment he is engaged in research on Jun Fujita (1888-1963) who is considered to be the first master of tanka poetry in  English and whose tanka poems were published in Poetry: A Magazine of Verse in Chicago, mainly in the 1920s, alongside work by  T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, H.D. and other key poets of the time.

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6 July 2006

Japanese Women in Tanka Poetry: from the 4th to the 13th Century
Ria Ulleri
Dr Hisashi Nakamura

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