A wonderful writer friend’s new blog … remembrances of China
In Guo Liang’s new blog: The People’s Commune of Art, Writers of the World Unite for a Narrative Way of Life, there are pictures and remembrances of one writer’s humble beginnings. I met Liang at FIU in Grad School when we were both seeking an MFA in Creative Writing. He is a poet with a deep soul and a very passionate writer. I hope whoever reads this can get into his blog,which is: http://cogonsand.blogspot.com/ , but I think it’s opened to invited readers only–I wrote to Liang, hoping he’ll open it up to everyone.
Here’s a peek at his writing though:”Cogonsand is my translation of a southern Chinese village where I used to teach dozens of kids at a local school over two decades ago. The name itself, a mixture of cogon (a perennial grass used for thatching)and sand (river beach), often recalls to mind years of my bewilderment as I tried to flee the village for a larger world. It is at the end of the road from the nearby town, and the beginning of an unknown fate that expressed itself in innocence and loss. I ate in a communal dining hall and stood behind the school kitchen wall, taking my winter bath from the water heated by a giant wrought iron wok.
“Summer evenings, I strolled the riverbank, reciting Shakespeare’s sonnets, and as night deepened, I sat in my tiny room by a kerosene lamp and studied French and English. The air was always muggy, redolent of a medieval sentiment. When I went back years ago for a visit, Cogonsand remains the same except for a few new buildings whose chrome glass decor contrasts with the old shabby houses. Today, I still turn to my Cogonsand years for my small-town Chinese tales.”
Of course when I have time, I’ll have to study some of the pictures he posted and try to describe them and stick them in the revision of my novel set in China! I read a 60 page memoir piece he wrote when he came back form a recent trip to china, and it was as if my eyes got to see some of the sights as well.
So now while my head and heart are still in China, here’s a recipe poem from my poetry collection, Cooking Lessons:
In a red room with nine golden dragons,
we sit at a low green table.
At its center a copper bowl,
flame beneath its belly.
In shark broth,
floats one white chrysanthemum.
One-thousand year-old eggs
wobble on a plate near serving dishes
of prawns, carp, duck, spinach,
pig, squid, dried bean vermicelli.
Our Chinese cook shreds the flower—
its petals filament,
falling feathers from angels’ wings,
into bubbling consommé,
One by one, he selects a morsel
to immerse and poach in the broth,
then dips it into frothy eggs and sauce.
Lastly we sup bean threads,
flavored by the rich soup,
this dense dollop on a spoon
lifted to our mouths,
mouths savoring the essence
of the predator of the sea,
graced and spangled chrysanthemum.
We gnaw the ocean’s chiliad gifts,
never again to thirst or hunger,
tasting a thousand years—
love and loss.