I had lunch yesterday with Nina Subin & Eliot Weinberger (New Directions author and translator of Octavio Paz and Bei Dao 北島, among others), in town for work with Chinese University Press on their way to Vietnam and Laos. The topics–they’re epic conversationalists–ranged from Cantonese cuisine to museums under colonialism to out-of-print sinology to the Poetry Foundation to American politics. And of course to Xi Chuan, whose photo-portrait by Nina from a few years ago should appear on the forthcoming Notes on the Mosquito, and whom Eliot met with recently during Xi Chuan’s New York stop on the Push Open the Window reading tour. In Oranges & Peanuts for Sale, Eliot mentions a trip to China where he met a Chinese poet “polymath, equally at home discussing the latest American poetry or Shang dynasty numismatics”; that was Xi Chuan.
Here’s a clip of Eliot reading at the International Poetry Nights Hong Kong two years ago:
(click here for information on this year’s Poetry Nights, including Xi Chuan’s events)