Brief bio sketch

Lloyd Haft (1946- ) was born in Sheboygan, Wisconsin USA and lived as a boy in Wisconsin, Louisiana and Kansas. In 1968 he graduated from Harvard College and went to Leiden, The Netherlands for graduate study in Chinese (M. A. 1973, Ph. D. 1981). From 1973 to 2004 he taught Chinese language and literature, mostly poetry, at Leiden. His sinological publications include Pien Chih-lin: A Study in Modern Chinese Poetry (1983/2011; published in Chinese translation as 发现卞之琳: 一位西方学者的探索之旅 in 2010) and Zhou Mengdie’s Poetry of Consciousness (2006).



He has translated extensively into English from the Dutch of Herman Gorter and Willem Hussem, and from the Chinese of various poets including Lo Fu, Yang Lingye, Bian Zhilin and Zhou Mengdie.



Since the 1980s he has also been active as a poet writing in Dutch and English. He was awarded the Jan Campert Prize for his 1993 bilingual volume Atlantis and the Ida Gerhardt Prize for his 2003 Dutch free-verse readings of the Psalms (republished by Uitgeverij Vesuvius in 2011). His most recent book of poems (in Dutch) is Deze poelen, deze geest (2008). His newer poems are published (some republished) on this blog.



After early retirement in 2004, for a number of years Lloyd Haft spent much of his time in Taiwan with his wife Katie Su. In addition to writing and translating, his interests include Song-dynasty philosophy and taiji quan. He sings in the choir of a Roman Catholic church of the Eastern Rite in The Hague.



Sunday, January 23, 2011

St. Paul's Epistles read anew (in poems)

Word of a New: After St. Paul


I.
        On Colossians 1:24-27 and -19

We suffer the one becoming
letting our flesh conceive or clasp
the rumor that is warm about us:

one we are becoming
is within us, in us,
wider in birth than all the wounds we were.

The one we are becoming
is the one that dies to death,

living us on and over,
on to the earth of other, which is joy.

II.
        On 2 Corinthians 12:9

Ever it is in me
the one becoming says abundantly
you are, in me.

Abyss we saw between us
is our place Now, of light.

Wherever I thought to hide my face
I’m shying into sight –

every Now a clearing,
a nearing of the one becoming.

III.
        On Ephesians 4:7-13

In and out of each of us
is given all,
all of the one becoming,

called in our writings Risen,
clasping who were kept alone,
holding who were held apart

for what is risen other
than of down and in and with? –

reaching to the full,
the body of becoming,
tallest in its telling

of our provenance of love,
telling all together
in the love we limn.

IV.
        On 1 Corinthians 13:12

We stare into our darkness
as a mirror, call it Now,

not saying the name,
not knowing the name, the later,
wider face of We –

We that we’ll be known as
where we’re known, home in the length of every limb.

V.
        On Philippians 3:10-12

May that be where I’m known:
where all of me is known to suffer
one becoming

coming forth,
party to a death that brings together.

Becoming brings together
out of death. We touch the We
wherever we are touched.

VI.
        On Colossians 2:9-12, 14

There in the one becoming
is the fulness of the living
where to live is to be known
and to be going,

be come along in every limb
before beginnings,
after all the answers,

not departing out of flesh
but undergoing what is ever going,

going on and over every word of man
that ever did forbid us.


--Lloyd Haft