from Kwame Dawes’s blog about Poetry International Rotterdam:
There is a room in which a remarkable online conversation is going on with thinkers and poets in China. A streaming system is in place and we are having these interviews and conversations with folks in China who have read translations of our poems and while it does not feel like it, we are told that thousands are viewing the stream in China. This strikes me as uncanny. I am not sure what I have said. I read a poem by a man whose pen name is Cricket. It is a fine poem. It is a poem that reminds me of something I heard when I was in Hong Kong: that there exists a fascinating genius of transformation in China that makes ancestral worship secular and non-mystical. It must be by fiat. It is also by faith. If we believe that they live among us, as so many in Africa and around the world do, then we are actually engaged in reality. I have not stopped thinking about this.
And here is where I can end in praise of poetry festivals like this one. When poets make their personal lists, and especially if they have had a chance to attend such festivals, their lists may not be myopic, limited by geographies and cultures, but may at last begin to engage writers from around the world. For my part, after this week, Roland Jooris, Liu Waitong, Ester Naomi Perquin, Mustafa Stitou, and Yang Lian will occupy my interest for a while. Not bad, not bad at all.