Poems from a Landscape Near and Far: A celebration of poetry at Lan Yuan, Dunedin Chinese Garden

23 August 2020 2:00pm

A free tea tasting will be available during the event. You are invited to sample three flavours from a variety of teas, from which you may wish to order a pot to enjoy while listening to the readings. 

Due to the unprecedented events we have faced this year, National Poetry Day 2020 will be an 'unofficial' celebration. Lan Yuan, the Dunedin Chinese will be celebrating this occasion with an afternoon of poetry in the tea house. This is a celebration of the relationship between poetry and the natural world; each work evokes a sense of place, moving through a landscape – local and distant, ancient and imagined.

The celebration will commence with readings by Jenny Powell and Kay McKenzie Cooke. When performing as a duo, Powell and McKenzie Cooke work under the name JK Rolling. The Dunedin-based poets will speak of their relationship to local environments.

The afternoon will conclude with readings by Xiaomin (Demi) Chen, spoken first in English, then in Chinese. Chen will read an excerpt from the work of Qu Yuan 屈原 (c. 340–278 BCE), followed by a recital of a poem by Zhai Yongming, from Chengdu, China. Yongming’s work interacts with ancient landscape painting and re-examines our contemporary relationship with nature, and Qu Yuan’s work shows a strong attachment to an ancient landscape experienced through vast wanderings.

Xiaomin (Demi) Chen is a PhD candidate at the University of Otago, and her research interests involve Chinese poetry, modern English poetry, gender, visual art and world literature.

Kay McKenzie Cooke, Kāti Māmoe, Kāi Tahu was born in Murihiku / Southland, Aotearoa. She is a Dunedin writer and has had four poetry books published, the latest book is titled Upturned and has been published by The Cuba Press. She has also written a novel set in Murihiku / Southland and which is titled, Craggan Dhu Time Will Tell.

Jenny Powell was born in South Dunedin. She has nine published volumes of poetry, including two collaborative collections. She has been involved in many collaborative projects, including writing and co-directing the WWI centennial piece Montecillo Child, and she wrote and performed the collaborative Alive in Berlin. Her most recent poetry collection is South D Poet Lorikeet, and she is looking forward to being a support poet for the NZ Poet Laureate when he receives his tokotoko at Matahiwi Marae.   


Tea House, Lan Yuan

Standard entry fee to Garden applies 

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