SAILOR’S HOME – A preface

Since how long ago, Poetry has become a “public thing”? Poets write with the idea of publishing in our mind, Poetry books printed with the idea of sale in publishers’ mind, Poetry events organised with the idea of “tickets” in the organisers’ mind….the “public” became an invisible hand plays and controls the standard of Poetry world, as boring as other fields directly commercial. I don’t want simply deny the function of the public, but I prefer the way of the publics’ joining to poets has been built in every ancient culture tradition since thousands of years ago – to read poetry. And, to leave poets alone to go on our individual, creative, often quite mad roads of writings. The power of public is the same as the power of Time, poetry finally has to be selected by it, but before the selection has been made, no body should be able to speak on its behalf. We simply don’t know who is the public? and what they want actually? All we know is that, to listen to the voice sounding in the depth of poets’ hearts, and force the languages to follow them. The poetic of being purely individual is much more beautiful and noble than any expensive book! Again, the way of exchanges between poets is ancient too, just like the great Tang Dynasty Chinese poets Du Fu met Li Bai, they never wrote for publications, even didn’t know whether or not there will be someone to collect their works after their deaths. They wrote to each other, simply to build, to enjoy and to prove the deep friendship, to warm each other in the cruel and difficult situations, and (it’s not a secret for any poet) to answer the challenges from another best talent! The nature of poetry writing shown here, it has to be privately and professionally. Only because of this, the poetry reached its highest quality, and became the treasures of public. we continue to read them today. We are the public.

Sailor’s Home is a private poetry festival held in London during 21st to 23rd of October, 2005. It is also the title of poems written by six poets friends who came from six different languages. We are: Bill Herbert from English, Arjen Duinker from Dutch, Uwe Kolbe from German, Peter Laugesen from Danish, Karine Martel from French and Yang Lian from Chinese. The poems printed in this book are not “responding poems” in its narrow meaning, each poet created his or her own understanding on the title-line, and arranged his or her forms individually, thus, at least here are six boats set sail on to six different waterways. But, who says sailors cannot see each other in distance? The ocean below our boats is the deep link between us, by touching its waves, we could share all joys and dangers of navigations. We are all leave endlessly to sick a new home in a new poem. This book includes the festival’s conception and programmes, as well as the poems both in original and English translations. It is the document of this special event. We tried to bring the best thing created from each one’s language, then to hand it to others in the readings and discussions during the festival. The “international exchange” is not a hollow word only because it based on these valuable locals: six special voices came together to build up the good understanding on human’s situation and poetry in common. Crossing times and spaces, what we have done here is to show how Poetry holding the root of all individual thinking: Privately and Professionally!

Yang Lian
London, U.K.
14th, August, 2005.