Monika Kocot

After Bashō: the Art and Practice of Shared Writing in Contemporary Scottish Literature

The aim of this paper is to explore multimodal references to Matsuo Bashō’s (philosophy of) writing in contemporary Scottish poetry and prose. In my discussion of Bashō-inspired texts, I will focus on three forms of shared writing as expressed in: Shared Writing: Renga Days. An Anthology of nijuun and hyakuin renga edited by Alec Finlay, Alec Finlay’s and Ken Cockburn’s The Road North, a journey through Scotland guided by Bashō’s Oku no Hosomichi (The Narrow Road to the Deep North), and chapters from Kenneth White’s waybook Pilgrim of the Void in which White literally follows in Bashō’s footsteps in Northern Honshu, Japan. Both Pilgrim of the Void and The Road North are, to use Marjorie Perloff’s term, “written-through” experiments which attempt to draw up a new (mental) cartography; White searches for Bashō’s places and traces in Japan, whereas Finlay and Cockburn “translate” Bashō’s and Sora’s (his companion) journey to Scotland (Scottish North). I will attempt to show how the Japanese philosophy of shared writing may be linked with the theory and practice of geopoetics as proposed by White.

Monika Kocot, University of Lodz, Poland