Under the title “American Poetry Culture & Chinese Culture,” Seattle-based cultural figure Paul Nelson (who earlier interviewed Xi Chuan) has a write-up of Xi Chuan’s reactions to Seattle & American poetry, and his recent reading at the Seattle Central Library with Paul Manfredi. I particularly liked Nelson’s description of the following:
The Q & A session after the reading was remarkable due to Xi Chuan’s thoughts about contemporary Chinese culture, saying that tourists want to visit the “old China”, that it has been part of Chinese culture for a long time to bulldoze most of the buildings of previous dynasties and that there is a symmetry issue with adding cars and roads, but leaving pre-auto landscapes. He said modern American cities like New York, Chicago and Seattle had been the model for China’s building spree, but now it is Paris and London. He kept saying “it’s complicated” a negative capability reflected in his poetry, a quality I appreciate. He also answered a question about memorizing old poetry, but gave a long chunk of an old poem that, even in the Chinese, did not seem easy to memorize and recite. He knows his stuff and related well to the older Chinese man who asked the question. The library event was after a long tour of Seattle that I took him on. He was able to recognize the Lenin statue from the back and was honored to see the graves of Bruce Lee and Denise Levertov.
Follow the link for the rest of the write-up and more pictures of Xi Chuan in Seattle.