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Review 6.1: To a poet nothing can be useless

Article by: Bob Abor
Location: Qi Hao
Event date: 2019/6/1
For starters, a famed writer Samuel Johnson said that “to a poet nothing can be useless.” Thus, a poet who knows most will be best equipped to diversify scenes, gratify readers and produce unexpected allusions and instructions because every idea is useful. The 4th EU-China International Literary Festival 2019 brought on stage acclaimed Chinese Poet Mr. Xi Chuan, a lawyer-turned-poet from Bulgaria, and Swedish poet, Ulrika Nielsen. The trio examined the relevance of this statement in the contemporary poetry landscape. Keti Bozokuva concurs with Samuel Johnson that everything around us can make a beautiful poem as long as it can reflect your emotions on a white sheet. Mr. Xi Chuan, however, disagrees with Johnson’s opinion on ground that it is too western oriented. He observed that China has a different genre. Chinese poets borrow a lot from the past before writing something. Thus, poetry in China follows the classical form. In so doing, they know that the form itself refuses some materials. He said that this is contrary with the new approach where you have to cross something and include new ones. Ulrika Nielsen observed that the smaller something is, the seemingly more meaningless it is, and then the more interesting it is to write about. She also acknowledges that her writing is intertextual since it goes a lot in dialogue with other authors. Whether there are there some things that can be destructed inherently to create a meaning, Mr. Xi Chuan said that writing is very vulnerable. “When it is broken you need time to recover it. The tragic incidence changes your past opinion and makes you lose your confidence. So if you need to come back to writing some audiences will be destroyed by this tragic incidence. Therefore, you need to hold on to the original style to remain on track,” Mr. Xi Chuan explained. To Keti Bozokuva, what is important is to learn the context? It is more significant for readers to read the poem and feel it personally. She mentioned that based on her experience as a lawyer, we interpret a statement differently. She concluded that she travels a lot to meet wonderful artists around the world and this gives her creativity in work.
Ulrika expressed a different perspective. She said that it is dangerous for an author to convince. “I just have to put a question mark when writng because if I don’t, I would be unintelligent because there is no black and white in the real world,” she said. She added that world is complicated and thus, an author must forget himself/herself if they want audience to know universal truth.
On whether they ever feel in the face of this knowledge overwhelmed, Keti Bozokuza said that writing just happens to her for example when she travels, walk on the streets, or take a vessel and ride. Thus, it does not take her a lot to write. She has different poems from different types of work. On the other hand, Ulrika Nielsen said that she does not forget that she is a poet. For this reason, she tries to be at the same level with the readers. “It can help if I have a lot of knowledge. However, I must not impose myself on the readers,” she explained. Mr. Xi Chuan acknowledged that is it is difficult task to him to explain because in ancient China one has to know everything in the world in order to be considered as a poet. He, however, noted that according to Zan-Buddhism a poet needs to make an instant response to ideas. Therefore, a poet needs not to go to the folks.
Like other artistic forms, poetry is shaped by several factors. The poets shared with participants who their greatest influences in poetry are.
For Keti Bozokuza, there is a tradition in Bulgaria that influences her poetry.
Mr. Xi Chuan, who also lectures at Beijing Normal University, said that his poetry is determined by varied factors. First, he had the chance to read poems from other countries such as France, Spain because since he grew up at a time when China was open to the outside world. Thus, the authors he read their books became part of his existence. Secondly, his work is also greatly shaped by paintings, films and dance has also shaped his work. He cited that he once attended a Spanish dance concert and realized that they were very accurate in their dancing. When he reflected this in his work he felt that his writing is very rough. This influenced him to change and become more truthful. Mr. Xi Chuan concluded that much as he also takes influences from nature like trees and stones, sometimes he uses his own words to describe his emotions and feelings to the readers.
Ulrika Nielsen admires a Russian film director and she lives inside me. This is reflected throughout my work.
During the exciting Q & A session, a participant asked how they reconcile the two notions that poets write for the people and that a poet knows everything in the world.
Mr. Xi Chuan replied that it depends on the school of thought that the poet subscribes to. He cited that Russian and American poets say that poets write for the people. The framework given by an American author is the writer, God and the audience. However, he noted that sometimes he just write for himself, though later he may feel that it is the time to share it with his friends. He writes what he wants to express.