In Conversation with the River is Christopher (Kit) Kelen’s homage to the Chinese traditions in poetry. Having lived in China for the last twelve years, Kelen has worked collaboratively on the translation of a range of classical poets, including Tao Yuanming, Meng Jiao, Xin Qiji, Li Yu, Nalan Xingde and many of the women poets of the Tang and Song Dynasties. As well, Kelen has collaborated in the translation of a number of contemporary Chinese poets, including Yao Feng and Leung Ping Kwan. He has also – as a teacher of Creative Writing – mentored younger Chinese poets in the production of their first volumes of poetry, published usually as parallel text in Chinese and in English. This collection brings together highlights of Kelen’s own journey in response to these many poets (classical and contemporary) with whom the author has worked in recent years. In Conversation with the River is a philosophical as well as a chronological journey; its persistent backdrop is the daziran (great nature) of the Chinese tradition; its persistent concern is with the future of human relationships with an environment under ever greater strain.
cover art by Christopher Kelen