Focus: City and Poetry
Can city inspire poetry?
[dropcap cap="T"]his issue of eRenlai explores these three dimensions: what kind of poetic feelings will a city arise within our hearts? How can the city proper be read as a giant poetic work? And how can we foster the poetic soul of the cities we inhabit? Let us hope that this issue will inspire all of us, and that it may reach the ones who are responsible for city planning. Our future will not depend only on their technical ability but rather on the way they will be able to respect and foster our dreams, our fantasies and our creativity…[/dropcap]
The city, asleep behind a curtain of rain; I wanted to feel the air of Asia, I tried to spur the magic in the small antic streets, I, ready for some exotic discoveries; my heart, ready for tortuous trees amid sweating concrete walls, smoke from beneath the street, food stands vanishing in the air, like some genies from an old tale.
But it was dark, all human sounds flushed by the heavy rain, each drop splashing the ground as if a giant drummer was releasing deep scents at every beat – all odors splashed to the ground like on a giant keyboard, it has no beginning and no end – I knew there was a city, there, into the heart of the island, I couldn’t see it, merely the tallest skyscrapers emerging from the chaos...
So here we are, in the city, and before we even can see it we feel its blood, the place where it is, its inclusion in the surrounding landscape, in the bright sunshine; light as a traveler, we watch the grid of roads and avenues, we see how they lovingly shape the hills, how the streets lose their perfect neat order from the center and start climbing the hills, how some manors push their fatty protuberance and bend the concrete lanes, we see where the ground is deep and moving, in those pockets of small, old houses forgotten by the city planning, we see the floodable areas and the new districts, far away, rational, arrogant, just tall. Each district has its own voice, planes landing in the north, roaring...
What would be the city without its people? It is so true in Taipei, not such a beautiful place, not so perfect, but full of grace and poetry, so much that just one person will make you smile, and you will do this experience over and over again, you will enjoy the city with everyone, half accepted and half tolerated, you will go to the bank and try to retrieve money, ah, such an adventure, you will smile at the lady behind her desk conscientiously using her rule to draw a perfectly straight line at the perfectly right place, such an effort she has to curl her tongue and summon all concentration in the world, so touchingly; once outside you will chat with taxi drivers, students, protesters, shopkeepers– oh...
And then one day, early Morning, you find yourself in a taxi, crossing bridges above rivers you know by heart now – the city that once appeared so big, you now know every corner of it – eyes wide open you keep watching the long thin smoky river flow all around the city; you lift the window and smell the air, the sun has lit the surrounding mountains already and the tallest buildings drain the lights from the top, draw the vertical energy from the sun into the plain grid of the same tortuous streets you’ve been through the first day, it’s all the same story, you think, some people currently land at the airport, they’re gonna live here, they come back home after a trip, it all starts again, here, among men heading...
The Japanese poet Ariwara No Yukihira wrote: “Spring wears a cloak of mist. A thin fabric, that the mountain breeze would, doubtless, disarray.” Undoubtedly, Kyoto is never more beautiful than during spring and its poetic side is never more obvious than under a snow of blooming tree flowers.
Throughout its history, Kyoto has underwent many trials such as fire and wars but the city always recovered its splendor and never lost its poetic aspect. Today, Kyoto is considered as one of the best preserved cities in Japan and I would say its is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever been to.
When the city was founded in 794, it was named "Heiankyo" which means "the capital of peace" and this name has not been...
Approach from PraguePrague in JuneWas hot in day but nightFalls, hardAnd cold, and heavy rainLike rain would never stopAnd fog like I had heard of PragueOn that- first visit,Lost among a hedge and living mazeInside a cloister in a rain from heaven and from hellBut, that was PragueAnd with its gilded towers...
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This month's Renlai
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- Conference: Embrace the Pacific June 5th
- Amateurs in Tokyo - Reasonable Riots
- Obesity and Freedom
- Focus Response: Father Jacques Duraud, SJ on 'My God?'
- Dancing through the lens: Photographing the Pacific Festival of Arts
- Religious Colonialism: Cultural Loss in the Solomon Islands
- Shell Money, Dowries and the Skulls of Ancestors: The Living Traditions of the Solomon Islands
- The Langalanga People: "Natives" of the Man-made islands of the Solomons
- A Vibrant Culture with an Ugly Facade: Honiara and the Pacific Art Festival
- Swept away from Sinology by the Allure of Taiwan's Pacific coast
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