Arthur Sze is the author of nine books of poetry, including The Ginkgo Light (2009), Quipu (2005), The Redshifting Web: Poems 1970-1998 (1998), Archipelago (1995), and The Silk Dragon: Translations from the Chinese (2001) from Copper Canyon Press. He is also the editor of Chinese Writers on Writing (Trinity University Press, Texas, 2010). A professor emeritus at the Institute of American Indian Arts, where he taught for twenty years, Mr. Sze was Poet Laureate of Santa Fe from 2006-2008. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including a PEN Southwest Book Award, a Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Writers’ Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Award, an American Book Award, and two National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing fellowships. His poems have been translated into Albanian, Burmese, Chinese, Dutch, Italian, Portugese, Romanian, Spanish, and Turkish, and he has read his poetry at such international festivals as the XIX International Poetry Festival of Medellín (2009), the Delhi International Literary Festival (2008), the Yellow Mountain Poetry Festival in England (2008), the Yellow Mountain Poetry Festival in China (2007), the Pacific International Poetry Festival (Taiwan, 2008), Poetry International (Rotterdam, 2007), and the Hong Kong International Literary Festival (2002).
Mayans charted the motion of Venus across the sky,
poured chocolate into jars and interred them
with the dead. A woman dips three bowls into
hare’s fur glaze, places them in a kiln, anticipates
removing them, red-hot, to a shelf to cool.
When samba melodies have dissipated into air,
when lights wrapped around a willow have vanished,
what pattern of shifting lines leads to Duration?
He encloses a section of garden in wire mesh
so that raccoons cannot strip ears in the dark,
picks cucumbers, moves cantaloupes out of furrows–
the yellow corn tassels before the white.
In this warm room, he slides his tongue along
her nipples, she runs her hair across his face;
they dip in the opaque, iron glaze of the day,
fire each emotion so that it becomes itself;
and, as the locus of the visible shrinks,
waves of red-capped boletes rise beneath conifers.
A sunfish strikes the fly
as soon as
it hits the water;
OOOOOOOOOOthe time of your life
OOOOOOOOOOis the line extending;
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOwhen he blinks,
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOa hair-like floater
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOshifts in his left eye;
OOOOOOOOOOwhen is joy
OOOOOOOOOOkindling to greater joy?
this nylon filament
is transparent in water
yet blue in air;
OOOOOOOOOOrest in the tall grass.