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 June 2019 he was named a Distinguished Alumnus of National Taiwan Normal University. 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.

Index to Blog Posts


(For each item, the index shows the month in the Archive under which it can be found.)


“Blood” [A Dutch woman sinologist has intense local encounters during a forced interruption of a bus trip in Southwest China in the 1980s]
-         Part One: Nov. 2011
-         Part Two: Nov. 2011

“Concupiscent Curds” [A young Dutch student has fate-fraught psychic experiences after meeting a Chinese girl in Beijing in 1979]
-         Part One: Jan. 2011
-         Part Two: Jan. 2011
-         Part Three: Jan. 2011

“Fleetest of All Known Things” – Nov. 2011 [A Western sinologist has a curious encounter with a Taiwanese woman during a visit to a temple]

"Muus and the Tai Chi Masters" [Tai chi and eros bring several practitioners together in an out-of-the-way Dutch village]
      -      Parts One to Six: Dec. 2011
      -      Parts Seven to Eight (conclusion): Jan. 2012

“Yinglian” – Dec. 2011 [A young Chinese woman poet wrestles with culture shock and her own emotions during her first trip to Europe in the 1980s]

"Heavy Ships" –  [An American student, living in Holland in the 1960s, shares rich and inexplicable experiences with housemates from the former Dutch East Indies]: Three Parts, all January 2012.

"Konni and Terry" - Sept. 2012 [A Western sinologist-poet, invited by a famous woman writer to lecture in Hong Kong, finds himself in deep psychic water when she purports to be a medium and makes an uncanny proposal]


“Haft’s Incommensurability Principle” – Mar. 2011 [Differing Chinese and Western concepts of ‘I’; appreciation of Chad Hansen]

“I am; therefore I co-think” [Difficulty of whether traditional Chinese concepts have ‘psychological’ meaning; the Zhong Yong 中庸; varying translations and concepts of ti , ren , cheng , and the self]
-         Part One: June 2011
-         Part Two: July 2011
-         Part Three: July 2011

“If You’re Lucky, For a While You’ll Be Almost As Immortal As the Illustrious Deceased” [Lin Yutang and his dictionary; other famous translators including Arthur Waley, John C. H. Wu, Kai-yu Hsu, and Kenneth Rexroth]
-         Part One: Mar. 2011
-         Part Two: Apr. 2011

“Not on the Lineage List” [On R. G. H. Siu, his writings and status; ‘Chinese’ features of his approach]
-         Part One: Oct. 2011
-         Part Two: Nov. 2011

“On the ‘Difficulty’ of the Chinese Language” – Mar. 2011 [A memorable and meaningful anecdote on Zbigniew Słupski]

“On the ‘Revelations’ of Art” – Mar. 2011 [Differing Chinese and Western concepts of poetry and the function of the arts]

“Preface to Discovering Bian Zhilin” – Apr. 2011 [A personal retrospect on how it was to study Chinese language and poetry in The Netherlands in the 1960s and 1970s; importance of Kai-yu Hsu]

“The Myth of Tai Chi” – Mar. 2011 [Differences in Western and Chinese assumptions and expectations of Tai Chi and other disciplines]

“What’s in a Transcribed Name?” [The problem of spelling Chinese names in the Western alphabet; possibilities, overtones and implications of varying spellings; David Hinton and his translations; Chinese poetry in translation; Arthur Cooper]
-         Part One: Apr. 2011
-         Part Two: Apr. 2011
-         Part Three: May 2011
-         Part Four: May 2011
-         Part Five: May 2011

"A Letter on Tai Chi" - Feb. 2012 [An open letter to the Dutch poet J. Slauerhoff, on whether the increasing 'simplification' of gesture seen in older Tai Chi practitioners is a mark of their superior experience and wisdom, or simply a biological inevitability...a parallel with diminished sexual activity in older men]

"In Memoriam Lloyd Haft" - March 2012 [A fictitious retrospect on life, career, and personality]

"Russian Orthodox Keys to Wallace Stevens" - April 2012 [remarkable parallels between certain Russian icons and images or words in Stevens' poetry, suggesting the Biblical origin of 'old man Hoon' and the true meaning of 'the dove in the belly']

"How Many Minds Has a Me?" - April 2012 [the question of whether emotions as presented in literature on qigong are 'subjective' or truly psychological; this related to traditional Chinese medical concepts relevant to psychology]

“Why Is Mad So Specially Bad?” – May 2012 [given that in the theory of traditional Chinese medicine, qigong etc., excessive emotion as such is feared as detrimental to health...why is anger feared especially, more than the other emotions? factors in the background of this.]

"Wisdom's Fine, As Long As You Never Apply It" - Nov. 2012 [on the frequently encountered paradox of an Oriental supposed 'Master' or 'enlightened man' actually, in daily life, paying unquestioned obedience to the most seemingly banal, non-reflective and unenlightened ethical views]

"Confucianism and Chinese Medicine" - Nov. 2012 [contrasting views of Western writers as to whether Chinese medicine is Daoistic, 'holistic'...or in fact based on a directive 'Confucianistic' attitude in which the body, like the Empire, must be strictly 'governed' from a dominant center]

"Whatever Happened to Air? " – Dec. 2012 [differences between the Western system of the so-called Four Elements and the Chinese Five-Element system; application of the Chinese ‘elements’ in a practical technique of meditation with a description of how to practice it]

“In the beginning was the Wha-a-a-at?” – May 2013 [on a 17th-century Jesuit translation of the beginning of the Gospel of John into Chinese; problems of the rendering the ‘Word’; a modern English re-translation of the translation]

“On Translating Zhou Mengdie,” parts 1,2,3 – September 2013 [semantic and cultural problems in translating one of the greatest modern Chinese-language poets; Buddhist and other philosophical overtones in this context]

“Astrology: Is Where I Am, Who I Am?” – January 2014 [what I found out or confirmed about myself, as a native-born North American, by casting horoscopes for my later residences in The Netherlands and Taiwan as if I had been born there]

“On Translating Gorter’s Lyrics” – February 2014 [linguistic and literary reflections after completing my “Poems by Herman Gorter” series; whether or not it is legitimate for a translator to shorten an originally too-long poem]

“Two Translators of Li Shangyin 李商隱” – April 2014 [some personal responses to lines by this great Tang-dynasty poet as differently translated by A. C. Graham and James J. Y. Liu]

“When Is Bamboo Where?” – April 2014 [thinking back on a childhood experience that went into making me a Sinologist; the intriguing mechanism of such memories]

“Great Mavericks of Chinese Poetry” – May 2014 [Ezra Pound and Johan W. Schotman as non-academic but superb translators of the Ancient Chinese 詩經 or Book of Odes into English and Dutch.]
I posted a lot of poems in 2011. Many of them had already appeared in book form – in the bilingual volumes Anthropos, Atlantis, and Formosa, or in my all-English collection Where Is the Body That Will Hold? Others are not yet in print. It would be tedious to write or to examine an index to all those poems individually, but by content or form, most of them fall naturally into groups.
        First of all, poems that appeared in the same published volume all have the title of that volume as a label at the bottom of the post, linking it with the others. This applies to Anthropos (posts in Feb., Mar., and June), Atlantis (posts in Feb., Mar., and April, including the ‘Helga’ series inspired by the ‘Helga’ paintings by Andrew Wyeth), Formosa (posts in July and Aug.), and Where Is the Body That Will Hold? (posts in Feb., May, June, and Sept., including selections from the Live Bird Verses and Dead Bird Verses series.).
        Another natural group is the poems written in more or less liberalized sonnet form. This includes everything from Anthropos and Where Is the Body...The poems from Formosa are also formally structured, but not in the same way.
        An important group (to me) is the poems inspired by Bible passages. They are anything but ‘translations.’ Maybe Marc Edmund Jones would have called them ‘recensions.’ In Dutch I have called them ‘listenings’...listening to an ancient text to see if, what, how it can still mean to me. In the Jan. 2011 archive there are several groups of hitherto unpublished poems based on New Testament passages, including St. Paul’s Epistles read anew.
        Another group of these Biblical ‘listenings’ is the Psalm Poems posted in Mar. and May. These, again, are not yet ‘on paper.’
        Hard to classify, but sharing the feature of being unprinted for now, are two short suites of ‘New Poems’ – In memoriam Li Shenquan (July 2011) and Eight Tai Chi Poems (Feb. 2011).
      Newer poems are 'Reflections' (Oct. 2012) and 'Waterfall at Taroko' (Nov. 2012);

“After That One Night” – September 2013
Translated from modern Chinese, written by the prominent twentieth-century Taiwan poet Yang Lingye, are the suites Notes on Facing the Wall and Sutra Leaves: both Jan. 2013.
More translations from the Chinese:

“Yang Lingye: Two Poems” – March 2013
 “Zhou Mengdie: Two Poems” – April 2013

Recently I have also started posting translations from famous Dutch poets:

“Poems by Herman Gorter,” parts 1, 2 – October 2013;
     part 3  December 2013; parts 4, 5  January 2014
 “Poems by Willem Hussem,” part 1 – November 2013


“Als ambtenaar belast” – Sept. 2011 [Een Nederlander die in China reist, heeft een ‘objectief’ oppervlakkige ontmoeting met een Chinees meisje] 

“Meester Muus” – (acht delen, alle Jan. 2011) [filosofische en erotische kwesties komen bij elkaar in het leven van een paar Nederlanders die zich in Friesland met tai chi bezighouden]

“Zuivel van verre” – (drie delen, alle June 2011) [Een Nederlandse student heeft lotsbepalende psychische ervaringen na een ontmoeting met een Chinees meisje in Beijing anno 1979]

“Zware schepen” – (drie delen, alle Jan. 2011) [Een Amerikaan die in de jaren zestig van de vorige eeuw in Leiden Chinees studeert, woont bij een veel oudere hospita in huis en ondergaat wonderlijke ervaringen met huisgenoten uit Nederlands-Indië]


“De Dao als Logos in een Chinese vertaling van het Nieuwe Testament” [Over Chinese vertalingen van het Johannes-Evangelie, i.h.b. de vertaling van John C. H. Wu; het begrip Dao; het neo-Confucianisme]
-         Deel 1: June 2011
-         Deel 2: July 2011

“Een brief aan Slauerhoff...” – June 2011 [over tai chi]

“Een doorgroeiende ontmoeting met F. C. Terborgh” – May 2011 [zinspelingen op/aanwijzingen van 'het transcendentale' bij Terborgh]

“in memoriam Lloyd Haft” – June 2011 [fictieve terugschouw en samenvatting van ‘zijn’ leven]

“Inleiding bij Gedichten: Nieuwe Testament” – Sept. 2011 [over de ‘lichamelijke’ Christusopvatting bij Paulus als mogelijke sleutel]

“In den beginne was het Wá-á-á-át?” – May 2013 [over een 17e eeuwse vertaling in het Chinees van de proloog van het Evangelie van Johannes door een jezuïet; probleem van hoe ‘het Woord’ zou heten; moderne Nederlandse hervertaling van de vertaling]


[NB: alle nieuwe gedichten uit de jaren 2009-2011 en 2012, en gedichten met een Nieuwe Testamentachtergrond, zijn nu bijeengebracht op de desbetreffende 'pages' van de blog.]

Bij de gedichten uit de bundels Anthropos (gepost in Feb. en Mar. 2011), Atlantis (Mar.), Slakkehuis (Feb., Mar., May, June 2011) , Formosa (July, Aug. 2011 en Dec. 2012) en Wijl wij dansen (Feb. 2013) zit onderaan een link naar andere selecties uit dezelfde bundel. De link ‘psalmen’ verwijst naar andere selecties uit De Psalmen in de bewerking van Lloyd Haft (Mar., April, May, July 2011).
Een link ‘bijbelverzen’ verwijst, behalve naar de Psalmen, naar gedichten bij teksten uit het Nieuwe Testament: Moederbeelden (Feb.), Beelden hoe ik Ben (Feb.), Beluisteringen (June) en Nieuw Verbond: Zes Epistellezingen (Mar.) - alle 2011.
Uit de bundel Deze poelen, deze geest werd de reeks "Achter Oud-Poelgeest" in jan. 2012 gepost, de reeks "Schadelijke stoffen" in maart 2012.
Uit het klassiek-Chinees vertaalde gedichten zijn de Gedichten van Wang Wei (jan. 2012) en Gedichten van Meng Jiao - (jan. en maart 2012).

Uit het modern Chinees vertaald, geschreven door een vooraanstaande Taiwanese dichter van de twintigste eeuw, zijn: Boeddhistische gedichten van Zhou Mengdie (Feb. 2013).
Verder zijn er nog niet in boekvorm gepubliceerde ‘Nieuwe Gedichten’ (Feb., Apr., May, June, Aug. 2011). Recentere 'Nieuwe Gedichten' zijn de Twee Afferdense verzen (May 2012) en  "Old Black Joe" (May 2012). "Over de Vruchtbaarheden" (June 2012) is een op zich zelf staande proloog bij een nog niet afgekomen reeks. In juni en augustus 2012 kwamen er nieuwe Nederlandse gedichten bij. Het gedicht ‘Tussenbeide’ dat in het tijdschrift Het vermoeden verscheen, is te vinden in het archief van Dec. 2012. ‘Bosvijver’: Jan. 2012.
Inmiddels zijn de nieuwe gedichten uit de jaren 2009-2012 ook bijeengebracht op twee zelfstandige pagina’s van de blog: "Nieuwe Gedichten 2009-2011" en "Nieuwe gedichten 2012", en is er een aparte pagina "Nieuwe Testamentverzen" met gedichten die op teksten uit het Nieuwe Testament zijn gebaseerd of geïnspireerd.
Nieuwste gedichten:

“Twee gedichten uit Formosa” – March 2013
 “Gedichten uit Ikonen bij daglicht” – delen 1,2 – March 2013
 “Oude olm” – June 2013
 “Perceel” – October 2013
 “Lichtgaten” – November 2013
"Waterwegen" – December 2013

(7) 中文

- 中文詩放置於2011年二月份檔案中
- 中譯散文有 "太極拳的神話" (Feb. 2012); "太極拳書簡" (Mar. 2012)
- “Konni Terri” [短篇小說] – May 2013
-英蓮” [短篇小說] – August 2013