Life of Miracles along the Yangtze and Mississippi

by Wang Ping
University of Georgia Press, 2018

Winner of the 2017 Award for Creative Nonficiton from the Association of Writers & Writing Programs

Wang PingThe Yangtze and Mississippi Rivers are the world’s third and fourth greatest. They have in common pollution, sinking deltas and cities (New Orleans and Shanghai), and pollution from agricultural and industrial runoffs. But also long histories of poets and artists inspired by them. Life of Miracles along the Yangtze and Mississippi recounts the events during the author’s trips down the Yang Tze and Mississippi River as part of her Kinship of Rivers project, a public art endeavor “to build kinship among communities along the Mississippi and Yangtze, and bring awareness to the river’s ecosystem through art, literature, music, food and installations of river-flags made by river communities.” Wang writes “since 2012, we’ve traveled along the Yangtze, Mississippi, Missouri, Minnesota, St. Croix, Fraser, Amazon, Ganges, Po, and many other rivers around the world. We paddled and rowed, biked, walked and met with locals to make poetry, arts, music, food. We made friends with thousands of people, made over 3000 river flags, installed them along the rivers and on the Everest (the North Face and South Side), and spread our prayers for peace, harmony and love from the roof of the earth.”

Wang Ping is a poet, photographer, and performance and multimedia artist. She is also the founder and director of the Kinship of Rivers project.

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Two Anthologies of Chinese Poetry

edited by Ming Di
New Cathay: Contemporary Chinese Poetry – Tupelo Press, 2013
New Poetry from China: 1917–2017 – Black Square Editions, 2019

New CathwayNew Poetry from China

 

New Cathay: Contemporary Chinese Poetry showcases the achievement of Chinese poetry in the last twenty years, a time of tremendous literary ferment in the country, and focuses on a diverse group of poets, including Duo Duo and Liao Yiwu, as well as lesser-known poets such as Zang Di, Xiao Kaiyu, Jiang Tao, and Lu Yue. The anthology also includes eight interviews with the poets. (Adapted from publisher’s description)

New Poetry from China: 1917–2017 consists of poems chosen by poet and translator Ming Di, and features one hundred Chinese poems by writers of many ethnicities such as Yi, Manchu, Tibetan, Mongolian, and others. According to Ming Di, the New Poetry Movement was begun in Beijing in 1917 by Hu Shi, with the goal of changing the literary landscape in China. Ming writes: “Apparently influenced by the Modernist art in New York City and Anglo-American free verse while he was a student at Columbia University, [Hu Shi] wrote a long free verse poem in 1916 as an argument during the fierce and lengthy debate he had with his fellow Chinese students regarding free verse vs. classical poetry, and this obscure poem because the first free verse in vernacular language in the history of Chinese literature. and we are still writing in his shadow today.” Nearly a dozen translators have contributed their work. (Adapted from publisher’s description)

Ming Di (pen name of Mindy Zhang) is a Chinese poet and translator who now lives in the United States. She co-founded Poetry East West journal. Some of her books in translation include River Merchant’s Wife, The Book of Cranes, and Empty Chairs—Poems by Liu Xia.

The Tiny Journalist

by Naomi Shihab Nye
BOA Editions, Limited; 2019

Naomi-Shihab-Nye-1-600x600-c-defaultThe title of Naomi Shihab Nye’s latest collection of poetry, The Tiny Journalist, is inspired by the “Youngest Journalist in Palestine,” Janna Jihad Ayyad, who began capturing videos of anti-occupation protests using her mother’s smartphone when she was seven years old. Nye’s father, Aziz, was a Palestinian refugee who became a noted American journalist; their family roots are in a West Bank village near Ayyad’s home. As an advocate for peace across all boundaries, Nye has become an internationally beloved poet, one of the finest and most empathic of her generation.

Naomi Shihab has been a Lannan, Guggenheim, and Witter Bynner fellow and has received many other honors; in 2010, she was elected to the Board of Chancellors of the Academy of American Poets.