Andrew Parkin

A Grain of Sand: Poems from Hong Kong

A prolific writer and critic, originally from England but Canadian since the 1970s, is now back in Canada. He lived in Hong Kong 1963-1967 and returned in 1990 until he retired in 2001. Hong Kong Poems, co-authored with Laurence Wong, was published in 1997 (reprinted 1999) to be followed by other poems on Hong Kong in his two Rendez-Vous volumes (2003 and 2011).

His poems in this video celebrate both nature and culture, depicting often a university campus of pond, cliff and sea that nurtures knowledge. The lines “Fish, fluid as mercury, / slink through thought’s shallow pool” (“In the Forum”) show the seamless blending. And a yearning for love invigorates all.

The poet, inspired by different cultural forces, not just English and Chinese but also French and Japanese, writes in a language that is graceful and also sinuous, lyrical and at times dramatic. The grittiness in “Four Treasures” is particularly remarkable, for the poet writes that in fighting against adversity, a poet has the spirit and determination to “write in blood with a bit of bone.”

Love at Dusk 1997
At Chinese University 1997
Four Treasures 1997
Love Letter to a Woman in Paris 1997
Tolo Lights 2003
In the Forum at The Chinese University of Hong Kong 2003
Excerpt from the scenariode on Sir Run Run Shaw, “Star of a Hundred Years” 2011
Sun Burst 2011
A Secret Place 2013 (date of composition)


Andrew Parkin