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.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Lodgings of Light (poems from Formosa)

(1)   Abele

Is light from over?
No, it is I
seeing the leaf from under,
I who stammer it is,

say it is white in the wind.
I who am here
to see it in falling:
turning and over in wind.

If my hands weren’t here
no one would feel
the edge, no one speak of a vein
that glows within.

Here in the falling
I speak for the leaf,
name it in turning and over,
over and over in wind.

(2) Remnant

Light is what is left –
what is!
What stays above the rock
at the water’s passing,

not of any color
but keeping color and all
in a rainbow’s spray,
a peacock’s fan,

showing each drop
as a round of the many,
one of the manying reaches
of light’s ever-widening hand.

Each is a mirror,
each is a member of me,
showing a way that I came,
gleam of the river I am.

--Lloyd Haft (from Formosa, Querido 2005)