Saturday, March 7, 2009

Poet Xi Chuan and musician Bruce Gremo at the Bookworm

At the first night of the Beijing Bookworm International Literary Festival:



The instrument Gremo is playing is called the celia and is apparently the only of its kind in existence in the world. I believe it.

Xi Chuan had his Chinese poems translated into English, which he read with slight difficulty. He paused during one poem to ask Bruce how to pronounce "infinitum," which he pronounced as "in-finy-i-tum." He also had a weird way of pronouncing "mosquito" as "moss-guy-to," but we understood. The mispronunciations actually enhanced the overall esthetic effect, I thought. They were going after a certain mood characterized by unfamiliarity and otherworldliness, and I think it was better that the poet read in an alien tongue (Xi did read one poem in Chinese, however, and that was an enjoyable experience).

I'd like to point out that Xi Chuan's poems were quite dark -- literally, from bats in the night to a poem called "The Darkroom" to lying down at dusk and monsters in the dark -- and that I, despite my illness, was entranced. Will have to buy his books when they come out in English.

Backdated on March 13.

2 comments:

Lee said...

Very nice!

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