Please join us at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 10th, at The Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow for the Jinhua, China Sister Poetry City Celebration followed by an evening of Chinese poetry moderated by Dr. Jonathan Stalling. The event is part of the US-China Poetry Dialogue and will include a discussion about the state of poetry, literature, and art in the U.S. and China, as well as the role of the arts in cross-cultural understanding. Participating Chinese poets and critics include Shu Ting, Zang Di, Mu Tan, Yuan Tian, Chen Zongyi, and Sun Xiaoya. They will be joined by American poets Alexandra Teague, Glenn Mott, and Molly Bess Rector. The first US-China Poetry Dialogue at the WCDH was in October 2017. The group presented to a full house and earned rave reviews. WCDH board member Sharon Spurlin called the presentation in 2017 “mesmerizing.” There is no charge to attend, but donations are appreciated. Reservations are not required.
Each year the Newman US-China Poetry Dialog brings together Chinese and American poets for a week of public conversations, readings, and workshops. Sponsored by the University of Oklahoma’s Institute for US-China Issues, the China Poetry Institute, and Beijing University; the US-China Poetry Dialog seeks to foster cross-cultural understanding through the public humanities. Describing its mission, Stalling says, “The Newman US-China Poetry Dialog was created in the belief that US-China relations cannot be built upon business and policy transactions alone. Rather, we must draw on our shared experiences of what matters most to us, and be cognizant of what could be lost. Literature, especially poetry, can give us insight into the future of our relationship, one that flickers into view in the partial light of our hopes and fears. Poetry has been and remains a vibrant force in both China and the US and provides both nations with a shared cultural space.”
Originating in the American heartland, the biennial Newman US-China Poetry Dialogues explore the unique history of US-China relations specific to each location. The first locale, Kansas City, Missouri, is the home of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, which holds one of the largest, most significant collections of Chinese art in the US. The city is also the home of Edgar Snow, the first Western journalist to meet Chairman Mao, and an important early proponent in establishing US-China friendship in the twentieth century. Kansas City is also the sister city of Xi’an, the birthplace of China, and of Yan’an, the birthplace of the modern Chinese nation.
The second dialog location, the University of Oklahoma, is a hub for Chinese public humanities and is home to the Institute for US-China Issues, the US-China Poetry Dialog, the Newman Prize for Chinese Literature, the Newman Award for English Jueju, the Chinese Literature Translation Archive, and Chinese Literature Today, a leading journal and book series dedicated to bringing Chinese literary culture to the English-speaking world.
The third locale, Northwest Arkansas, has arguably played the largest—although largely unacknowledged—role in modern US-China relations as the home of Walmart, the leading company that shaped the US-China economic relationship into what it is today. This year the Dialog will inaugurate a new sister-city relationship between Eureka Springs, Arkansas, and Jinhua City in Zhejiang Province, celebrating their important roles in Chinese and American poetry.
Stalling spearheaded the effort to designate Eureka Springs a Sister Poetry City of China's Poetry city, Jinhua. Both cities feature a vibrant culture of literary arts, and a long history of poets. The most notable Eurekan poet is Frank Stanford, who wrote much of his poem, “The Battlefield Where the Moon Says I Love You” while living in the New Orleans Hotel from 1972-73. Also notable is Crescent Dragonwagon, beloved children’s poet and co-founder of The Writers’ Colony. One of the American poets involved in the dialogue, award-winning poet Alexandra Teague, is a Eureka Springs High School graduate, poetry professor at Idaho University, and had a major new book of poetry published in August of this year. Dr. Jonathan Stalling, poet and founder of the dialog, is a graduate and former teacher at the Clear Spring School in Eureka Springs. He holds the Harold J. and Ruth Newman Chair for US-China Issues at the University of Oklahoma.