On Poetry and Essays

I’d like to ask you a question about your poem, “The You of China.” The poem moved me; it made me feel nostalgic for my life back in Sichuan. I thought you brought to life the sights, the sounds, the smells, the emotions of rural China, and it made me curious about how you write. Using the backdrop of this poem as an example, what is your writing process?

—Rob Schmitz, Shanghai, China

I have to start with a caveat, Rob. I’m not really a poet. While I’m very drawn to the evocative power of poetry and its compression and unique patterns of sound, to be a poet is to grasp great subjects with the skilled brush of a miniaturist. Read more…

How do you like Chinese poetry? Which poem or what kind of Chinese poems impresses you most?

—Dai Xiaohong (AKA William Jefferson Foster), Wenzhou City, Zheijiang Province, China

Willy, and I hope it’s all right for me to still use that fond nickname for you, I really wish I could do this question more justice than I’m able to. I’ve thought about it a lot, and it always makes me realize how much I don’t know not only about Chinese poetry and Chinese poetic traditions but about all of poetry. Read more…

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