Poetic Cartography: Capturing the Tenor of Japan and Taiwan Through Verse

What is poetic cartography? Simply, it seeks to accomplish the same thing a map does - guide the reader through an unfamiliar place. Instead of county borders and bodies of water, however, I want to explore something harder to find on your handy atlas - the human situation in that unfamiliar place, the beauty and pain within those borders and seas.

In this project I brought a poet’s lyricism and an academic’s analysis to a pair of countries with rich yet embattled histories. Through the spring and summer, a series of poems and contextualizing essays explored the juxtaposition of traditional past and bustling present, the experience of a sojourner in a foreign land, and the textures of a contemporary life in these cosmopolitan nations.

*Note: This was a 2015 Chappell Lougee grant project.

Learn more about the project here

Joshua De Leon
Joshua De Leon studies at Stanford University, majoring in International Relations with a double minor in Creative Writing and Japanese. He is the proud son of Filipino immigrants. Josh’s lifelong affair with the written arts began with the discovery that words could elevate the world - or reveal it.