Magazine article Chinese Literature Today

Two Poems

Magazine article Chinese Literature Today

Two Poems

Article excerpt

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My latest and twelfth collection of poetry, The Government of Nature (Univ. of Pittsburgh, 2013), is the second book in a trilogy that began with The Plum Flower Dance (Univ. of Pittsburgh, 2007). In this trilogy I am trying to integrate my lifelong interest in and involvement with Chinese culture into a confessional investigation of the trauma of my abusive childhood. The organizational force in these books is my experiential knowledge of Daoism as a practitioner of daily Daoist meditation, which I began in January 2002 as I was heading to Taiwan on a Fulbright to teach at National Taiwan University. In studying Mandarin since 2002, I have been working for a fluidity in my imagination in my work in English, as my engagement with Chinese culture has been my strategy for growth and realization for over thirty years. In addition to poetry, I also write plays, short fiction, and essays. I have worked as a freelance journalist, too. I did my graduate work at Brown in 1985-87; when I entered Brown in 1985, it was as a published poet with a book published by the Univ. of Virginia/ Callaloo and an NEA in poetry, both of which I managed during fifteen years as a factory worker (1970-85) in my native Baltimore. That time in the factory was my apprenticeship as a poet. I have won other awards in poetry as well as playwriting, most recently a second Pushcart in poetry this year. I live in Somerville, Massachusetts, and hold an endowed chair at Simmons College. I write in Chinese to deepen my intuitive sense of the language and to help negotiate internal connections with English and the other languages I have studied. …

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