Category: poetry

  • Fire

    I’ve got fire on my mind. Maybe it’s the fireworks that exploded all over Amsterdam in defiance of a nationwide firework ban on New Year’s Eve. Or it’s the Thai bird that now hovers over our living room. It’s a phoenix, right? The mythical creature that rose from the ashes of a catastrophic conflagration. I […]

  • A virtual book launch: take 2

    Last Thursday, Fee Griffin launched her debut poetry collection, For Work / For TV. Her publisher is Versal Editions, the brand new Amsterdam-based, internationally-oriented small press. Versal invited me to participate. I completely misunderstood my remit. Instead of reading one of Fee’s poems and then extemporizing on the subject for 10 long minutes, I got […]

  • Laogai

    Laogai will be the third volume of The Shanghai Quartet and its star will be Song Kang. We first see Kang in The Dancing Girl and the Turtle as the returned student, the prodigal son, called back from America to care for his ailing sister Anyi. Eighteen years later, we meet him again. He’s in […]

  • The Language of Blood

    Few authors venture to write in a language that is not their mother tongue. ┬áIt’s hard enough to write. Why make it any more difficult by adapting a new vocabulary, grammar and syntax? Some might even call it a betrayal of country, home, blood. the chinese typewriter My grandfather wrote in English. Born and bred […]