Poetic Voices: Art that Unites Pleasure with Truth
By Bob Abor
Qi Hao, Beijing
The second phase of the 4th EU-China International Literary kicked off today at Citic Bookshop in Qi Hao with participants learning more on poetry as unique form of expression from two experienced authors-Mr. Tom Nisse and Prof. Zhang Ning. To set the ball rolling, the two authors narrated to participants their poetry journeys. Mr. Tom Nisse, who thanked the organizers for the invitation and good reception, said he grew up in two world environments-German and French which exposed him to so many things and motivation to write.
His counterpart, Prof. Zhang Ning said that he has literary creation. He published a book entitled: The tale of 3 cities, which is largely about a young man who lived Beijing, shanghai and Guangzhou in quest for a better life. He said that he is also author in City group. He is working on fantasy stories about his childhood and suburb life. He wants to give them hope and the pleasure to read his book. To Prof. Zhang, short stories have features similar to poets.
Author’s take on the topic that Poet is an art that unites pleasure with truth
According to Mr. Tom Nisse, poetry is very artistic literature; it has roles that cannot be replaced by other literature. It must reflect people’s ideas and feelings in certain areas. It has function in remembering certain things. Just like in China, we have artistic poetry. It is a simple idea to express but in the 16 characters they rhyme. In china we have an ancient civilization, the sincerity of the people and the society. This is reflected in the life of the people. It is meant to express ideas to people and unite people. Poetry is not about denial but unity of different cultures. He hopes readers will read their poets.
He mentioned that the first literatures written in humanity were poets. What is said about humanity is still true today. When you are a poet you create and to create you have to be free. That is what poetry is about. “We live in a world of problems and injustices, the role of poets is to unite people in the face of these realities and contribute to problem solving,” Mr. Nisse explained.
How poet is different from other art forms such as novels and books?
Prof. Zhang said that unlike books and novels that express spiritual values, poet is about expressing emotions and therefore has different arrangements. He also clarified that different poets have different ways of making their work unique from others. For classical poets, he said that each paragraph may have five lines. “If you relax and read carefully, you can understand with a free mind to connect the object with the emotions,” Prof. Zhang explained.
To Tom Nisse, a poet amplifies the feelings and sensation, it is shorter than a novel, has also has specific images, metaphors from other art forms. A poet is more direct and personal than other fiction art forms. It can be in printing, cinema and real life. He narrated to participants how he came following from his hotel room seeing buildings, roads and finally reaching the venue for the event to show how a poet works.
He said that he is at the right place because he discovered contemporary culture he had not known but read a lot of literature on China. He found out that amidst problems he found beauty of nature like butterfly, architecture and trees, which is what poetry has to transmit.
What does visual poetry mean since you practice it?
Mr. Tom Nisse clarified that he is not the pioneer of visual poetry because at the beginning of 2oth century it was already in place. He explained that whereas written poetry transforms a language/story for example a story about a snake or butterfly into books, visual poetry takes extracts information on papers and books and turns them into visuals.
Is visual poetry in China?
“When l listened to you talking about it, I immediately think about Wang Hui in Tang dynasty, his paintings has poetry meanings,” Prof. Zhang Ning answered. He also noted that when they do a review of poets in china, they will take into consideration this unique form of poetry.
Prof. Zhang said that European paintings are largely focused on landscapes like rivers, mountains but Chinese paintings include both the landscapes and human scenes. He said the similarity that exists between the two is that all paintings connect with human sense-the eyes- to make meaning
Poetry seems difficult to write compared to books and novels. What is the role of poetry in the 21st century?
Tom Nisse said that in the internet and social media era, there is no much truth and expression of inner feelings because of fiction. So, the role of poets still remains to get back to expressions of true feelings and that can probably help change the world.”
To Prof. Zhang Ning, poetry has three main functions in the 21st century. These are; uses different phrases and words and thus can maintain developing and beautiful language. It also helps to change good things in to beautiful images like feelings of the moon. Lastly, it helps in expression of personal freedoms, for example love, anger to the public and emotions in classical poets in china.
Although I am very interested in mainstream poetry (book form), there are emerging forms of expressions such as digital poetry-Artificial Intelligence poetry and 3D poetry. What is the future of poetry in the digital age- asked Mr. Jady Liu?
Mr. Tom Nisse answered that Mr. Liu did not have a cell phone but rather a book in his hands when he was raising the question. He says that by Mr. Liu’s scenario implies that we can use many ways to express ourselves but the role of poets in expressing emotions is achieved best in a book format. He also added that real poetry does not depend on the form of expression but on what you express. However, he noted that in different experiments, if the expressions of emotions are understood by different audiences then it is fine.
People say that there is no money in poetry, and then what keeps you going-Wendy asked.
According to Mr. Tom Nisse, poetry is not about money but it seeks to serve the collective power and humanity in the face of world problems.
Prof. Zhang Ning acknowledged that as far as he knows, most poets do not have good life because most people do not like buying a collection of poems. They do not understand the logic of poets. The idea of making money has pre-occupied people’s minds in China. He said that poetry is the opposite of this. As a result, he said most poets have not touched the lives of many people yet.
The session ended with a call for participants and the relevant stakeholders to respect and support poet as a unique form of art.
Poetic Voices: Art that Unites Pleasure with Truth