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.



Sunday, September 28, 2014

What My Religion Is


My religion is not a system of beliefs. It is a collection of practices.
The practices include attending mass, taking communion, prayer, reverencing images of the Mother of God, and abstaining (or trying to abstain) from certain behaviors which I think to be, at least for me, immoral.
The practices are not props or self-suggestive devices intended to reinforce or strengthen beliefs or ideas. They are not intended to (supposedly) ‘improve’ or ‘perfect’ me as a person, a member of society, or whatever. They are an autonomous area of experience to which I voluntarily subject myself because I don’t seem well able to do without it.
The practices do not lead to increased subjective certainty. They very definitely do conduce to an increased subjective acceptance of uncertainty.

--Lloyd Haft
September 2014