21 – 24 November, 2013
Featuring: Adonis (Syria), Aase Berg (Sweden), Conchitina Cruz (The Philippines), Menna Elfyn (Wales), Lee Seong-bok (South Korea), Tim Lilburn (Canada), Zeyar Lynn (Burma), Dunya Mikhail (Iraq), Peter Minter (Australia), Tomasz Różycki (Poland), Olvido García Valdés (Spain), Jeffrey Yang (USA), Raúl Zurita (Chile), Natalia Chan 洛楓 (Hong Kong), Han Dong 韓東 (mainland China), Lan Lan 藍藍 (mainland China), Un Sio San 袁紹珊 (Macau), and Ye Mimi 葉覓覓 (Taiwan)
click the image above for more information
Enter Words & the World, the material result of 2011’s International Poetry Nights in Hong Kong. A white box roughly 7 x 11 x 2.5 inches in dimension houses a collection of twenty chapbooks, black ink on white paper, with at least two languages guaranteed in each chapbook (Chinese and English). The collection “begins” with the younger generation Mexican poet María Baranda (b. 1962), and “ends” with Chinese writer Yu Xiang (b. 1970), integrating them with better-known or longer-standing international versifiers, including Irish trickster Paul Muldoon, American spiritualist C.D Wright, Japanese lyric master Shuntaro Tanikawa, and Slovenian dynamo Tomaz Salamun. The box-set effect encourages reading at cross-cultural purposes, to be sure, and a nice leveling effect emerges between poets, poems, and languages. The work inside is generally stunning, strange, and vibrant, in no small part due to having crossed so many borders to appear before your very eyes.
Today’s English speaker is more than likely aware of the myriad forms of English informing the polyphonic Anglo poetry world, and the inclusion of such diverse poets as Muldoon, Wright, and Indian Vivek Narayanan intimates as much. Perhaps because the “West” often conveniently forgets that a billion people speak the language, Words & The World importantly underscores the heterogeneous nature of living and writing in Chinese by showcasing writers from mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. All of them seem engaged in some form of epic conversation with a “West” that is far from predictable or uniform in its concerns or manifestations. The addition of poets like Brazilian Régis Bonvicino (writing in Portuguese, despite his French-Italian name) and German-born Russian poet Arkadii Dragomoshchenko further reinforces the sense of a grandiloquent, irreverent dialogue occurring across the seven seas. Bonvicino’s chapbook includes an untitled poem dedicated to Dragomoshchencko, which begins: “Almost no one sees / what I see in the words / byzantine iconoclasm / the clock reads midnight or mid-day?” (56). Indeed, the byzantine iconoclasm of this box set is what astonishes most of all, the overriding and often overwhelming sense that, night or day, it is high time for all of us to wake up.
Click on the image above for the full review.
Tomorrow afternoon and Monday evening I’ll be moderating events for Gary Snyder‘s visit to Hong Kong as part of the International Poets in Hong Kong 2012 events. Click the image above for the full schedule.
Snyder’s visit corresponds with the release from Oxford University Press Hong Kong of Ripples on the Surface 水面波紋, a collection of Snyder’s work translated into Chinese by Xi Chuan.
And for Susan Schultz’s take on Snyder visiting her classroom in Hawaii, click here.
Talk about “world” poetry. Xi Chuan arrives in Hongkong tomorrow morning to take part of this spring’s International Poets in Hong Kong event at Chinese University, leading workshops on American poetry and introducing his translations of Gary Snyder (Snyder will be here at the end of April; I’ll be moderating a couple of his programs). Given inopportune scheduling, though, I’m flying to New Zealand tomorrow evening to attend the Short Takes on Long Poems conference with Rachel Blau DuPlessis (and Jacob Edmond, Susan Schultz, and others), where I’ll be presenting on Xi Chuan and contemporary Chinese poetry. Unfortunately, Xi Chuan leaves Hongkong the day I get back from Auckland! At least I’ll be able to have a quick lunch with him tomorrow before I leave.
347. A Creative Conversation with the Chinese Poet Xi Chuan
Friday, 6 January, 5:15–6:30 p.m., Grand B, Sheraton
Program arranged by the Office of the Executive Director
Presiding: Christopher M. Lupke, Washington State Univ., Pullman
Speaker: Xi Chuan, Central Acad. of Fine Arts, Beijing
This session highlights the work of the renowned contemporary Chinese poet Xi Chuan and consists of a conversation between him and Christopher Lupke as well as questions and comments from the audience. Xi Chuan will read some of his poems. The session will be conducted in English.
As I mentioned earlier, I’ll be accompanying Xi Chuan’s reading with my English translations, and copies of the pocket volume A Song of the Corner 牆角之歌 from the International Poetry Nights will also be available. The event is open to the public.
Happy New Year!
If you’ll be at the MLA in Seattle this year–or in the area on Friday, January 6–please join me in attending the “Creative Conversation with the Chinese Poet Xi Chuan” from 5:15 to 6:30 in the Sheraton, room Grand B. Despite the lame title, the event should be excellent, with Prof. Chris Lupke moderating and conducting the interview. And in addition to Xi Chuan reading his poems in Chinese–which I may accompany by reading my translations–copies of the pocket volume A Song of the Corner 牆角之歌 from the International Poetry Nights will also be available.
Unlike most MLA events, this one is open to the public.