The poet who grew up in the shadows of the Sino-British negotiations distills the angst of his age. Upheavals, reaching back to the Japanese occupation, and forward to the handover in 1997 and beyond, imprint on his poetry. And yet a greater strength inheres, for the continuity of tradition, the persistence of the Chinese poetic thought in a poetry rendered in English, makes his writing rich with resonances that cross language borders.
His first volume of poetry, Paper Scissors Stone (2011), won a poetry prize. The title poem has a verse form that suggests a pair of scissors at work, cutting the lines into curt couplets that still are connected one to another, in thought, in tone, and in a flow of language that heals the wounds. His poetry has its roots in the Confucian “gentleness” that he mentions in “‘Chinese Poetry’ (in translation).” Its branches, with knots and tangles, point in the direction of a new landscape and mindscape: 柳柳暗花明又一村.
|How Cangjie Invented Chinese Characters||2011|
|China Landscape in the Forecourt of the British Museum||2011|
|Paper Scissors Stone||2011|
|Among School Teachers||2014|
|‘Chinese Poetry’ (in translation)||2011|