by Pallavi Jain
Every day, people undertake actions without much forethought. They look at the direct relations and connections of their actions and their most obvious consequences (mostly for themselves). Conventionally, scientific subjects have dealt with phenomenons that are quantifiable and thus somewhat predictable. On the other hand, Chaos theory deals with more complex matters that fall outside what human beings perceive as predictable (leave it to the mathematicians to theorise something as abstract as chaos, right?). In simple words, it studies the interconnectedness between two or more phenomenons, institutions or environments and attempts to acknowledge, understand and analyse the…
by Grace Ka Ming Tsang and Ricardo To Ka Ho
“By Chance” is a beautiful poem written by Xu Zhimo (1897–1931) about the meaning of “encounters” in life. Such encounters may change someone’s life forever and yet it is full of uncertainties.
I chose this poem because I am reminded of how life is made of many little encounters and coincidences. From this poem, we hope to remind ourselves of the little moments in our lives that make us who we are, as well as to cherish the encounters in life.
by Wen-Chi Chen
Lin Wanyu (b. 1977) initially enrolled at the Department of Health and Nutrition of Taipei Medical University and later decided to suspend her medical studies. She graduated from the Department of Drama, Taipei University of the Arts. This poem is part of her new poem collection called, 24 Operations of Love.
“What will you be like in ten years?” The author ponders about that and how she would react if she runs into her ex on the street after ten years. …
by Wenqi Zhu
Li Bai (701–762) is regarded as one of the greatest poets during the Tang Dynasty, which is often considered China’s “Golden Age of Poetry”. “Bring in the Wine” is one of his most famous works and filled with passionate spirits. With heartfelt love for drinking, Li Bai saw alcohol as a blessing, not a sin. This poem describes his manic state of mind after drinking wine, during which he forgot his existence, disgrace, and frustration temporarily.
“将进酒 (Bring in the Wine)”
by 李白 Li Bai (China)
by Amrita Chopra
The poem “Waiting” by Shri Rabindranath Tagore can be interpreted in multiple ways — spiritual, religious or even romantic. I found it to be an expression of a spiritual journey. Tagore talks about the Hindu belief that God resides within all of us, and the journey towards him requires no intermediary. In the poem, Tagore says that although he is moving forward in his journey towards God, he is not ready to “meet” him yet because his spiritual devotion is still developing.
I’ve always loved to read Tagore’s work. He was one of India’s leading poets —…
by Prince Antwi-Afari
Ama Ata Aidoo (b.1943) is a force in the Ghanaian literary landscape. She has written plays, poetry, short stories, and novels and has successfully created a distinctive African tapestry, which is what modulates and inflects her English with a unique and persistently female African flavour. This poem presents an excellent case that mimics the ongoing leadership condition in some African countries. The writer, having experienced colonialism, post-colonialism and independence eras in her life compares the life of African leaders’ post-colonialism to the brutality experienced during the colonial periods.
This poem is very critical and important even in…
by Kim Bo Kyeong
Yun Dong-Ju (1917–1945) was a Chinese-born Korean poet who lived during the Japanese colonization of Korea. As part of his collection “Sky, wind, stars and poems,” ‘New Path’ was written in 1938, about a month after entering Yeonhui Technical School, now known as Yonsei University. After graduating from college, he moved to Kyoto Doshisha University in Japan, to study English literature in 1942. In 1943, he was arrested and imprisoned for “thought crime” and participating in anti-Japanese movements for two years. His collected works were delayed for publication due to Japanese censorship. …
by John Andrew Evangelista
One of the premier poets of the Philippines, Jose Corazon de Jesus (1894–1932) wrote over 4,000 poems and was known as the King of the Balagtasan (versified debate). His style reflects the love for the country and social consciousness. His poem Manggagawa (Labourer) is a tribute to the working class. It honours their contribution to civilization and society. I chose to recite this piece because it represents a progressive tradition in Philippine literature that highlights the struggles of those who are marginalised.
“Manggagawa (The Labourer)”
by Aurell Sulaiman
Of all of Sapardi Djoko Damono’s (1940–2020) poems, “Aku Ingin” (I Want), is undoubtedly the best known. It has been put into music, used in films, and quoted endless times. The poem is about the essence of loving someone, which is to be simply proven by acts of selflessness instead of words. I chose this poem because it is also my way to honour one of Indonesia’s greatest poets who passed away recently on 19 July 2020.
“Aku Ingin (I Want)”
by Sapardi Djoko Damono (Indonesia)
by Harry Pham
The poem depicts the feelings of a man who falls in love with a woman at first sight. It begins with the excitement in the first several times he meets her, then his resentment as she is away without a word. In the end, the poet describes the man’s regret for not expressing himself earlier and vividly.
This poem is distinct from other contemporary war-themed poems. It was written in the 1970s when the Vietnam War was still ravaging the country. At this time, poets were discouraged from writing about love but patriotism instead.
The main image…