needless to say, i am very grateful for this remarkable honour, as well as for the good news. while for me this is as significant as my inclusion in poetry in voice, the national e.anthology for all canadian high school students in addition to best of canadian poetry (2009;12;14), i find it quite ironical that almost all canadian magazines have unanimously stopped accepting my work nowadays although i think i have been writing/submitting as many as good poems to them. more ironical is the fact that a few domestic magazines (namely malahat, fiddlehead, antagonish review, capilano review, exile and prism international) have persistently rejected every one of my submissions for the past 13 years. with my appearances in 1309 publications (many of them are national leading magazines) across 39 countries, these few canadian magazines treat my work as far below their standards. this simple fact often makes me wonder if they have a strong bias against my poetic work, my literary background or even my cultural identity.
also, i would like to mention that a quite new online magazine called fēlan has published a poem of mine, and had an written interview with me. here are my responses to their questions, due out on 24 may::
Please tell us a bit about yourself.
- -- A half-blind and heart-deformed guy getting newly old, I have been living a life full of ironies: for example, I got an F for every English test throughout high school in China, but later won a scholarship to accomplish my PhD in English in Canada; I always prefer reading and speaking Mandarin, but writing and publishing in English; hate to talk but make a living by lecturing; love nature but have to live in a city; and need little money for myself but function like a moneymaking machine. Happily, eight years after my elder son got married, I have now finally had Kate Emily Yuan, my first grandchild, the beautiful publication of my best (secondary) creation.
When you create, what inspires you?
- -- The only unfailing source of inspiration for me is a great poem I happen to read in English or Chinese; as a result, I have written a large number of what I call ‘parallel poems,’ those I write to emulate or respond to the poems I have fallen in love with.
Tell us about the specific inspiration behind one or each of your accepted pieces.
- -- Inspired by Dana Levin’s ‘Watching the Sea Go’ (Best American Poetry 2005), I wrote ‘Attracted to the Muted Melody of Mountains’ between 3:52 and 4:11 pm on 2 October 2016 to reenact my reading pleasure as well as my love for trees and mountains. (Every writing of a poem is a truly happy experience for me; thus I have a habit of keeping a specific record for each piece I have ever composed.)
What is your medium of choice? Why?
- -- Poetry is my only medium of choice because it’s the most economical and effective mode of (linguistic) expression, which I feel not only comfortable but also confident with.
How did you first discover your love for creating?
- -- While still in a Chinese junior high school, I found reading poetry could give me great pleasure beyond words; a couple of years later, I found writing poetry a most enjoyable thing to do, but I was never able to get anything published before moving to Canada.
fēlan is old English for feel. What makes you feel attraction?
- -- It is beauty in a specific or abstract form, such as a tree, a mountain, a horse, a lovely child/woman, an inspiring poem or a smart idea.
Please feel free to add anything else you think is relevant.
- -- There are too few really good poems that have been published, especially in bigger-named magazines, while there are too many poetry books out there and too many none-poetic forms of entertainment nowadays.