Dr Monika Kocot: Alan Spence and the Japanese Poetic Tradition

The Department of Anglophone Literatures and Cultures cordially invites you to the lecture ” Alan Spence and the Japanese Poetic Tradition” by Dr Monika Kocot (University of Lodz). The lecture will be held on Monday 11 November in Room 111 (CUFA main building) at 17:30.

It could be argued that the intricate beauty of Alan Spence’s poems is strongly associated with his deep fascination with Japanese aesthetics and philosophy (of writing). During the seminar we will look at Spence’s poetic pieces (haiku and tanka) through the prism of the theory of beauty in Japanese aesthetics, beauty understood as “hidden depths apprehended through artistic detachment” (Odin 2001:1). Steve Odin notes that the Japanese tradition of aestheticism has articulated “a variety of highly refined, elegant, and pervasive qualities of atmospheric beauty such as aware (sad beauty), yūgen (profound mystery), wabi (rustic poverty), sabi (loneliness), shibumi (elegant restraint), mu (negative space), iki (chic), and fūryū or fūga (windblown elegance)” (2001: 99), and he adds that critics often neglect “the aesthetic attitude of detached contemplation required for the intuition of beauty” (2001: 99). In my attempt to show how detached contemplation helps in (re)reading Spence’s poetry, I will also refer to Donald Keene’s observations, and I will emphasise how the four concepts he discusses, namely suggestion, irregularity, simplicity, and perishability (1969: 294-306), operate in Spence’s poetry.

Dr Monika Kocot is interested in contemporary Scottish poetry and prose, Native American writing, comparative studies and literary translation. She is the author of Playing Games of Sense in Edwin Morgan’s Writing (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2016) and co-editor of Języki (pop)kultury w literaturze, mediach i filmie (Łódź: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Łódzkiego, 2015) and Nie tylko Ishiguro. Szkice o literaturze anglojęzycznej w Polsce (Łódź: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Łódzkiego, 2019, in print). She is a member of the Association for Cultural Studies, The Association for Scottish Literary Studies, the French Society of Scottish Studies (SFEE), and Polskie Towarzystwo Językoznawstwa Kognitywnego (Polish Cognitive Linguistics Association). She is the President of The K.K. Baczynski Literary Society.

Event detail

Event start
11. 11. 2019 17:30 - 19:10
Faculty of Arts, nám. Jana Palacha 2, Prague 1 (room 111)
Event type