A personal epic from Taiwanese poet and calligrapher Lo Fu
Traces of Rilke are unearthed in Lo Fu's long poem sequence, Driftwood, along with his affection for surrealism and the early modernists such as Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Apollinaire, and the more contemporary verse of Wallace Stevens. On New Year's Day 2001, the poem appeared in the literary supplement to the Liberty Times in Taiwan and was serialized for three months straight. Lo Fu has won almost every literary award in Taiwan and has published more than three-dozen volumes of poetry, essays, criticism, and translations. Despite his prolific output, Lo Fu considers Driftwood to be the book that sums up his experience of exile, his artistic explorations, and his metaphysics; Driftwood is a personal epic and the greatest achievement of his old age.
Lo Fu is the pen name of Mo Luofu, who was born in Hengyan, Hunan Province, in 1928. He joined the military during the Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945) and moved to Taiwan in 1949. While stationed in southern Taiwan in 1954, he founded the Epoch Poetry Society with Zhang Mo and Ya Xian, serving as the editor of the Epoch Poetry Quarterly for more than a decade. He immigrated to Vancouver in 1996, where he still lives.
John Balcom has translated more than a dozen books into English from Chinese. He is Associate Professor and Chinese Program Head at the Monterey Institute. Balcom previously collaborated with Lo Fu on the translation of his book of poetry Death of a Stone Cell (Taoran Press) and his 2012 book, Stone Cell (Zephyr).
Driftwood, by Lo Fu
from Chinese by John Balcom
ISBN 0-939010-83-6 (paper)
5¼ x 8½
2014 short list for a Northern California Book Award in Translation.