When I interviewed Richard Greene about the question: “What do you think poetry is to our modern life?” he replied: “Poetry to our life is like water to fish.” His answer might seem bold and dramatic for some people, but not for me. I can picture myself –the fish … saved by water – poetry. From the very beginning of my poetry journey, I have believed that. Thus I promoted Poetry Alive passionately. I high-profile poets at events that I have hosted for believing that poets deserve more attention since they distill life’s essence and speak for it.
I was very glad to be appointed as the Inaugural Poet Laureate of Mississauga this June which brings me more opportunities to promote poetry. The Culture Division department of the city has strongly supported my new poetry project – Haiku Walking Tour/Postcard Poetry – and designed signs and postcards for that. We had our first haiku walking tour/postcard poetry event in Sept, 2015. It received wide interest among many local communities. I was asked to continue the project in various places such as museums, art galleries, libraries, etc. We believe by continuing to encourage the general public to read and write poetry, we will build a poetry oasis in our growing city. Though it isn’t easy in this modern world where Money seems to rule everything and poetry seems worthless on the surface. But with the support of local people and the city, we can bring poetry back to the people and show its value in our daily life. We want people to find meaning in their daily life through reading and writing about our city and our life. I am also interviewing local people and poets, encouraging more public readings and open mic. As thirsty as the Persian poet Rumi, I even reach out beyond our city by introducing the projects in China and have invited international students to participate. There can be many things that we can try and connect with and collaborate on, poetry could be the seeds to turn our city into a green land.
In my new collection of poetry Seven Nights with the Chinese Zodiac, poems to our life are leaves to a tree. This tree has four branches: “Night Shades” meditates on fate, tragedies and loss, “Dried Roses” reflects love and longings, “Life Jars” collects incidents and stories from daily life, and in the last section, the poet is “the Self-Completing Tree” discovering truth, gaining strength…and growing its lush leaves out of dark.
As the title poem, the poet has chosen “seven nights” with the thought of the “seven days” from Genesis. Zodaic with the thought of transformations of history and culture that have influenced humanity. The ram on the book cover is a perfect match for these themes as it is the first sign of the western zodiac which is also the sign of the poet, and the mosaic patterns also fit the book which blends images and mythology derived from both the Eastern and Western worlds. All call out with bittersweet hope: Take me, this pack of paradise.
Below are some photos from the launch of Anna Yin’s latest book of poetry Seven Nights with the Chinese Zodiac:
Anna writes of the event’s success below.
The Launch on Nov 6 of Anna Yin’s new book Seven Nights with the Chinese Zodiac, with all proceeds from sales going to Trillium Health Partners Foundation for cancer care in the city, was a great success. Over $500 was raised by the forty participants at the multicultural and multimedia event with poetry, music and discussion held in the atmospheric setting of the Homer Watson Romantic Canadian landscape exhibition of the Art Gallery of Mississauga last Friday night.
Present as guest speaker and reader was Mississauga Campus of the University of Toronto Professor Richard Greene, who spoke about the importance of poetry for the everyday lives of all the people of the city, and a wide variety of performers from the two talented young girls (Selena Xu and Amy Chan) who provided mood-setting music on the traditional Chinese zither and other local musicians (Heather Brissenden, Matt Zaddy and Craig Manning) who enlivened the crowd, to a diversity of Mississauga area poets (Kateri Lathier, Daniel Tysdal, Cheryl Xavier etc), all donating their finest reading efforts to the cause.
In addition to organizing the event, and reading several poems related to her sister ( who died of cancer last year), Ms. Yin explained her ongoing Haiku Walking tour/Postcard poetry project for Mississauga, illustrating this with a fascinating multimedia video of the project in progress.
The evening was emceed by Mandy Salter, Director of the Art Gallery of Mississauga which sponsored the event along with Trillium Health Partners Foundation as well as Mississauga Arts Council.
Here are some video clips from the event: