Geography and the Creative Imagination: Call for Submissions
Categories: Calls for Submissions
Geography and the Creative Imagination
Edited by Sonam Chhoki
WHETHER FICTIONAL OR REAL, geography plays an important part in bringing the world of a writer or poet to the reader. Here are some writers who used the landscape as a signature feature in their writing:
Longchenpa, the Tibetan Buddhist philosopher and teacher (1308–1364) was exiled to Bhutan and wrote a poetic eulogy of the valley of Bumthang in central Bhutan, where he lived for a decade. He evoked the physical beauty of Bumthang in the tradition of a ‘Hidden Land’ where Buddhism was protected and flourished. He called it a ‘paradise transplanted from heaven to earth.’
Thomas Hardy (1840–1928) based his Wessex roughly on King Alfred’s Anglo-Saxon kingdom in western England. Covering wild moors, water meadows, craggy cliffs and the wind-swept Salisbury Plains, Wessex embraces contemporary Dorset, Berkshire, Hampshire, Wiltshire, Somerset and Devon.
Here protagonists play out their love trysts, betrayals and tragic deaths against a background of enormous economic and social changes—the railway reached Dorchester, Hardy’s Casterbridge, when he was seven years old.
The Indian writer, Premchand (1880–1936) turned away from themes of courtly love, heroic adventures and epic tales to the lives of ordinary people in his rural home province of Uttar Pradesh. His villages are terra firma where protagonists encounter debt, the travails of large joint families, the rigidity of the caste system, and the corruption and tyranny of the local landlords, the Zamindars.
R. K. Narayan (1906–2001) invented an imaginary town, Malgudi in South India. He says:
‘Malgudi is . . . not to be found on any map . . . If I explain that Malgudi is a small town in South India, I shall only be expressing a half-truth, for the characteristics of Malgudi seem to me universal.’
Matsuo Basho (1644–1694) was not ordained as a monk but he was steeped in Zen Buddhism. The old Zen Masters undertook journeys with all the hazards, including that of death. Basho followed in their footsteps. He created a new prose form, the haibun (a prose written in the spirit of the haiku), to record his impressions. His most famous haibun, The Narrow Road to the Deep North, takes contemporary pilgrims through Sugmo (Tokyo), Asaka (Fukushima) and up to Sendhai.
Patrick Leigh Fermor (1915– ) began his travels across Europe in 1933 with a knapsack of a few clothes, the Oxford Book of English Verse and a volume of Horace’s Odes. His travels throughout Greece made him an authority on Hellenic culture. He created the persona of a bookish wanderer in the wild. Mani, Travels in the Southern Peloponnese and Roumeli are his well-known books. He influenced a generation of contemporary travel writers.
Lawrence Durrell said that there is a spirit of a place that a writer can tap into.
How does locality influence your writing?
Do you fictionalize locality for purposes of your writing?
Are you influenced by any particular region or place?
Have you written about such a special place?
Geography and the Creative Imagination will be published as a Special Feature on the Atlas Poetica website at: AtlasPoetica.org. The general guidelines for Atlas Poetica apply. Geography and the Creative Imagination will publish Spring, 2014.
Please submit up to five of your tanka about a place that is special to you. Only one tanka per individual poet will be selected, so please send us your best poems. The poems must be original, previously unpublished and not under consideration by any other journal. Poems posted in social media fora such as twitter, facebook or personal blogs will be considered.
Send submissions to email@example.com with the subject line: “Submission– Geography and the Creative Imagination”. Please send your tanka in the body of the email. Do not send attachments, which will be deleted. Please include a brief (not more than 5-lines) bio-note about your writing.
Submission deadline: 30th December 2013.
Acceptance or non-acceptance of submissions will be notified as soon as possible after the deadline.