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The Elora Poetry Centre

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Beaver House, The Elora Poetry Centre

The Elora Poetry Archives website grew out of a collaborative project related to the course EASIA 391R at Renison University College, University of Waterloo, Ontario. This collaboration involved the students taking EASIA 391R in Fall 2018 and the instructor, Daniel Bratton, a member of the Department of Culture and Language Studies.

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The East Meets West Garden at Renison University College, University of Waterloo

“The Beats, Buddhism, and Japanese Culture” examines the cultural cross-fertilization that occurred when several adventurous twentieth century American poets—notably Gary Snyder, Joanne Kyger, Philip Whalen, Allen Ginsberg, and Cid Corman—arrived in Japan during the 1950s and 1960s. While Buddhism and Japanese culture profoundly affected these writers, they in turn influenced their Japanese literary counterparts, the Buzoku, notably Sakaki Nanao, Nagasawa Tetsuo, and Sansei Yamao. Often grouped together as members of the “Beat Generation,” these Western poets were in fact highly individualistic visionaries, exercising considerable influence on the 1960s Counterculture, the modern environmental movement, and the “new American poetry.” Drawing on audio-visual material and selected texts, the course serves as a reminder of the debt contemporary global culture owes to these poets’ quest for freedom, spirituality, and selfhood.

EASIA 391 R also dovetails with the mission of the Elora Poetry Centre, founded in 2011 when Daniel Bratton and Carol Williams returned from Japan, where Bratton had been teaching for eleven years, first at Miyazaki International College and then at Doshisha University in Kyoto (where Cid Corman had once taught). The Elora Poetry Centre holds contemporary poetry, music, and art events (often combined) in a dramatic rural setting, next to the Elora Gorge Park. The collection in the Elora Poetry Archives highlights the particular focus of the Centre, affinities between certain artists of today and the creators of the alternative poetry of the mid-twentieth century. The Elora Poetry Centre, committed to global understanding and peace, is decidedly international, as evidenced by the events (past and present) that can be found on its website: https://www.elorapoetrycentre.ca

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The Elora Poetry Archives are housed at The Elora Poetry Centre, outside the village of Elora, in Centre Wellington Township, north of Waterloo. Beaver House, an 1832 log house that originally stood south of Aberfoyle, was part of the Canadian Underground Railroad. It has been lovingly restored as a historic venue for literary and musical performances, as well as art exhibitions, in conjunction with events held in the original 1860 stone farmhouse on the property.

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EASIA 391R draws on this archival collection, most of which has come from Japan, as a learning resource that includes digitally preserved recordings, videos, photographs, and manuscripts, as well as works of art. Additionally, you will discover relevant links.