I’m really excited to introduce my guest poet today, Sheena Bradley, as Sheena is a very good friend of mine and I am very lucky to have seen the poems grow in her collection Painting My Japan. Here’s Sheena now to tell you all about it.
Painting My Japan
My pamphlet Painting My Japan is an exploration in poetry of the people, culture, history and sights of Japan as I experienced them during my many visits to the country. The idea originated in a presentation for my cohort and tutors during my first year of the Masters in Creative Writing. Since I was restricted to ten minutes, I wanted to give unity to the reading by confining myself to a single theme. I had four poems already written about my travels in Japan; the collection developed from there and became the topic for my dissertation.
I first visited the country in 2001, when my son had emigrated there. I travelled mainly in the hope of understanding his fascination. During that first visit I spent time in Tokyo and visited all the other major cities, but I also included a ten-day walking tour of Old Japan along parts of the Nakasendo Way, an ancient Shogun route between Edo (Tokyo) and Heian (Kyoto). We had an inspiring and informative guide who sparked my interest in the literature, poetry and art of Japan.
Travel narratives have been around for millennia but travel writing/poetry has become more popular in recent years. As a genre, this may be even more important to people today, since travel has become so restricted by the pandemic, vicarious travel must be safer.
The biggest criticism levelled against travel writers in general, is any claim they might make to objectivity. Travel entails cultural and linguistic translation. Such choices and translations can displace meanings from their original context. Paul Theroux claims travel as a creative act in itself. And Peter Bishop says, ‘Travel writing creates worlds, it does not simply discover them.’ Nonetheless, writing about another culture to which we do not belong is fraught with problems in these days of cultural appropriation. My poems are purely my view of Japan and its culture, as it appeared over many visits and as I came to love the country.
I have titled the pamphlet Painting My Japan in a reference to one of the poems written from the perspective of Van Gogh. He was heavily influenced by Japanese prints, mostly those of Hiroshige and Hokusai, which were flooding Europe at the time. His best and most famous works date from these years. (1885-1890).
The title of the pamphlet also indicates that the poems display how I personally see it. To continue the ‘painting’ idea, I have included calligraphy from my 14-year- old Japanese grandson, Keigh Tachibana Bradley, in the volume.
The above translates as Journey created by Keigh Tachibana Bradley
I hope the above has tempted you to purchase a copy of Sheena Bradley’s Painting My Japan. Details below on how to purchase a copy but first, let’s find out a little more about Sheena.
About Sheena Bradley
Sheena Bradley was born in a village near Draperstown in Northern Ireland and went to University in Dublin. She spent five great years in Liverpool and has now lived in Nottingham longer than anywhere else. She worked as a Radiologist in Grantham, Lincolnshire for 22 years, and since retirement has been writing, mostly poetry.
She loves words and images, but also mountains, bogs, beaches, birds, clouds, and all sorts of natural things.
Her eldest son lives in Japan with his family, and before travel restrictions entered our lives, she visited that country regularly and loved their rich history, culture, traditions and poetry which inspired her Dissertation for her MA in Creative Writing completed at NTU in 2018.
Many of her poems have been published in Sarasvati, Dawntreader and Reach, (Indigo Dreams Publishing Ltd). Her work has also appeared in Orbis, The Beacon, As It Ought To Be, (AIOTB), Poets’ Choice, Dear Reader and Impspired.
To purchase a signed copy of Painting My Japan go to PayPal – £1 from each sale will go to UNHCR
or order via Amazon