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). His most recent sinological book, a liberal modern Dutch reading of Laozi's Daode jing, was published as Lau-tze's vele wegen by Synthese in September 2017. His newest book of poems in Dutch, Intocht (Introit) has been available as a POD from the American Book Center since June 2018.

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 newer poems are published (some republished) on this blog. His newest book of poetry in Dutch is Intocht (Introit), issued by the American Book Center in June 2018.

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. For many years he sang in the choir of a Roman Catholic church of the Eastern Rite in The Hague.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Here Seens (Poems from Where Is the Body...)

(1)   Dog on the Stoop

I know he is dying because he calls to me:
animal I never knew. Stranger to this
street myself, to hear him falls to me:
dweller in dark, home in stillnesses.

Nights he also tried, cried to the air
to come across the roofs and bring him kin,
find him a facing body hid somewhere
in the shut hovels, housings of din.

But where do we meet except light is in it?
Where except in morning, where the form
calls to another that has also been it,
also stood with breath steaming warm-

widening out, welcomer out, more
heard crying open, crying door?

(2)   Forecast

Falling from heaven haltingly, so slow
it seems staying, dwelling as if for good,
creation happens. Like unarmored snow
withering through a sooted neighborhood

it lingers, dirtying where it is at all...
but clinging, seen in its moment of surrender
to marriage into mud, giving its fall,
that is its light, to dark the never-ender.

Not that its flakes are pretty where they touch
and die, and give their little light to dying.
But each is seed, scattered out of much
so quickly into nothing but its trying,

its tying into nothing, where it’s met
by nothing that can hold it, nearly, yet.

--Lloyd Haft (from Where Is the Body That Will Hold?, 1998)