The Waste Land in China (Zoom meetup)
Is April the cruellest month? Join me for a conversation with Qiu Xiaolong
Can poetry help us connect during a politically challenging time?
“I think that in poetry people of different countries and different languages . . . acquire an understanding of each other which, however partial, is still essential.” —T. S. Eliot
Join me on 12 April for a conversation about The Waste Land in China with Qiu Xiaolong, who has translated many of T. S. Eliot’s poems into Chinese. Qiu was born in Shanghai but has lived in St. Louis for over 30 years. His detective thrillers, featuring Chief Inspector Chen Cao of the Shanghai police, are amongst the best-known contemporary novels set in China, translated into over 20 languages. Inspector Chen, like his creator, is a poet and translator of T. S. Eliot into Chinese. Register now.
The focus of the conversation will be Qiu’s experience with Eliot’s poetry, which he first discovered during the Cultural Revolution. We’ll be asking why Eliot’s poetry remains so popular in China, and how this fact can help us understand China today. He will also introduce some traditional Chinese poetry that he has translated and talk about poetry’s relevance in modern China. He will be interviewed by Karen Christensen, who worked on the T. S. Eliot letters with Valerie Eliot.
Here’s an interview with Qiu Xiaolong by Edward Wong in the New York Times. And our exchange in the Shanghai Review of Books, in celebration of The Waste Land.
Our April 12, 2023 conversation will take place on Zoom, as a meeting rather than a webinar, so that participants can easily ask questions. Register in advance at this link (there is no charge):
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
“The protagonist in my Inspector Chen series turned out to be an honest cop working under the omnipresent surveillance of the regime while still trying hard to keep some distance as an independent-thinking intellectual. He frequently quotes or paraphrases Eliot’s lines, which help to give him an alternative, humane perspective in spite of that suffocating system.” —QIU Xiaolong
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