edited by 李森 Li Sen, 龙晓滢 Long Xiaoying, Steven Schroeder 史蒂文·施罗德, 王浩 Wang Hao, and 张晓红 Zhang Xiaohong
This bilingual collection gathers poems by twenty-seven contemporary poets from the southwestern United States and southwestern China – “two southwests,” two variations on an illusion of geographic precision behind which there are people who find themselves in both natural environments and political ones, who come to know in various ways that what we can and cannot see is as likely to depend on a map as a mountain, or when and where the river is dry enough to cross. What we say and what we don’t, as surely as what we see and what we can’t, are products of politics as well as location. But, politics and perspective aside, it is a matter of collision – and putting ourselves in places where we will collide can be an aid to vision. By bringing poets together in two places similarly named by virtue of their respective places on somebody else’s maps, we intend to facilitate a collision. In our southwests, there is space for silence – and the intersection of sky with earth on open plains can teach us to appreciate nothing whether the plateau beneath our feet is below Tibet or above the Caprock. Between the poems and between the lines, nothing that is there may make our being present a bit more possible.
cover photo by Chen Chuan