In 2007, I founded the Mark Allen Everett Poetry Series. This series curates between 10 to 15 readings a year in Norman, Oklahoma and features poets spanning a broad spectrum of poetry communities and styles. Past poets who have read include Tom Raworth, Hank Lazer, Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, Lorna Dee Cervantes, Arthur Sze, Natasha Tretheway, Myung Mi Kim, Charles Alexander, Joe Harrington, Afaa Weaver, Shin Yu Pai, Leonard Schwartz, Hugh Tribby, Gerald Stern, Sy Hoawhwah, Alexandra Teague, Kate Greenstreet, Dean Rader, Zhang Er, Julie Carr, Tim Roberts, Grant Jenkins, Keorapetse Kgositsile, Duo Duo, Wang Jiaxin, Glenn Mott, among many more.
One of the most exciting poets to emerge in China over the last decade, Zheng Xiaoqiong was born in 1980 in rural Nanchong, Sichuan, China, and spent eight years as a migrant worker in Dongguan City in southern Guangdong Province. Zheng’s poems are wrought from the materials of globalization rendered on an intimate scale. Zheng’s poetry draws upon the working lives of women caught in the tidal pull of China’s massive migrant labor force—with an unprecedented care and attention. She has won numerous awards including the Lu Xun Literary Award of Guangdong Province and the Liqun Literature Award from People’s Literature in 2007. In 2007 she was chosen by the popular magazine Chinese Women as one of the ten most influential figures of the times at home and abroad. Zheng’s poetry has appeared in English (with my translations of it in Chinese Literature Today, World Literature Today and in New Cathay: Contemporary Chinese Poetry, 1990-2012. In this interview, joined by Zhang Jie (Assistant Professor of Chinese at Oklahoma University), we discuss Zheng’s poetics in relation to issues of migrant-workers’ rights and gender. —Jonathan Stalling
Zheng Xiaoqiong Interview:
Zheng Xiaoqiong Reading: