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Taiwan's journey as a country is reflected in, and shaped by the remarkable literary output of its citizens. Many of the finest poets currently writing in Chinese are from Taiwan. The readings introduce Western readers to four such poets: Yang Mu (楊牧), Chen Li (陳黎), Hsia Yu (夏宇), and Ching Hsiang Hai (鯨向海).
The speakers will focus largely on Yang Mu (楊牧), a towering figure in Taiwanese literature. Our selections from the poetry of Yang Mu will comprise a geographical and formal journey from west to east, beginning with a sonnet set in the contemporary USA, with stops in Ireland, Hong Kong, mythical China, and beyond. In Yang Mu's work, Taiwan casts long shadows. His poetry will be the vessel for our return to the island.
Once we have reached Taiwan, the speakers will dip into the work of three other excellent contemporary poets. We will hear their work performed in its original language, and in English translation.
Please note: this event will be filmed. If you wish to not be included please make a member of staff aware.
In collaboration with the SOAS Centre for Cultural, Literary and Postcolonial Studies (CCLPS) and the British Comparative Literature Association (BCLA)
Supported by the Ministry of Culture, Taiwan & the Cultural Division, Taipei Representative Office in the UK.
Wen-chi Li (利文祺) is pursuing a PhD in Sinology at the University of Zurich, having completed a MA in Comparative and General Literature and MSc Research in Chinese at the University of Edinburgh. Li's publications include critical essays in journals in Hong Kong and Taiwan as well as three books of poetry in Chinese.
Colin Bramwell is a Scottish poet, translator, theatre-maker and musician from the Black Isle, near Inverness. He studied English Literature at the universities of Edinburgh, McGill and Oxford. Working with Wen-chi Li, he co-translates Taiwan's most important living poet, Yang Mu. He contributed translations to a recently published Collected Works of Yang Mu: his most recent translations won first prize in the John Dryden Translation Competition. Colin also translates poetry from various European languages into Scots. He recently performed his fourth spoken-word theatre show, Umbrella Man, at the Prague and Edinburgh fringe festivals. Umbrella Man will be touring theatres nationally and internationally in 2019.