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 book, a liberal modern Dutch reading of Laozi's Daode jing, was published as Lau-tze's vele wegen by Synthese in September 2017.



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.



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.



Monday, December 24, 2012

Paintings by Joseph Yen 2 (poems from Formosa)


(1)   Lotus by Night

How to tell the dark
from the blossom it feeds?
Leaf’s shadow spreading
from stem rising?

And the water – where
else than in waves,
never the light
but the light divided –

up now,
down then,
never where it was,
breaking into sight

wherever I am breaking,
wherever an I is spreading,
mirroring its leaf, its shadows,
ever its deepening eyes.


(2)   Mother and Child

Where do I have a face
except where I am open,
where up I look
and into me you be?

Where are my lips
except at your coming?
Saying you I see,
know in your name my need.

Eyes closed –
where I feel you is light –
knowing in your ribs
a form of my hand: fingers of me,

finding me now:
what made my face
and seeks my face
and feeds me, feeds with seeking.

--Lloyd Haft (from Formosa, Querido 2005)