Sketches from the Poem Road (after Matsuo Basho’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North)

20 Jun 2016 – 15 Jul 2016

Event times

9 am - 5 pm

Cost of entry


The Glass Tank

Oxford, United Kingdom


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A collaboration between Japanese artist Isao Miura and poet Chris Beckett, presented to the Glass Tank by the Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre.


In spring 1689, Matsuo Basho sold his house in Edo (now Tokyo) and set off with his friend, Sora, on a long risky journey to the north of Japan, mostly on foot. He travelled light, just a paper coat, light cotton gown, his writing brush and ink. His aim was to see the great northern sights like Matsushima and Kisagata Bay which had inspired poets before him, a process the Japanese call ‘uta makura’, literally ‘poem pillow’, but more accurately translated as ‘the poem road’. This exhibition explores the rich legacy of Basho’s work, both visually and poetically, and it documents some of Isao’s artistic and physical journey from the deep north of Japan where he grew up, ‘translating’ Basho’s text not only into English words but into sketch, to plaster, and bronze. The exhibition will be accompanied by a discussion event on Basho and the artistic journey, and a workshop on the haiku style of prose, called haibun, which is rapidly gaining popularity in the UK, Europe and the USA.

Exhibiting artists

Isao Miura

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