Started two years ago under the auspices of the Taipei City Government, the biennial International Poetry Festival is back to provide deep thoughts on life, the universe and everything else. \nWhile it is sometimes a little hard for the hoi polloi to take the idea that it is poetry that is at life's cutting edge, rather than food, accommodation and education, the encouragement given to poetry by such events is an important part of creating a fully formed local literary culture. \nBut of course, no Taiwan arts festival would be complete without a fully integrated "multimedia element," and this year's Second International Poetry Festival is no exception. "Poems on electronic paper" will be a major part of the enterprise, which also offers the advantage for the overly sensitive to stay at home and still get the benefit of the audio-visual poems that have been uploaded to the Internet and which can be found at http://dcc.ndhu.edu.tw/poem/2003. \nIn case poetry itself is not enough -- and some heavy-hitters from overseas have been brought in to enliven the event -- there will also be events featuring performance artists in various mediums from Luo Man-fei (羅曼菲) and Cloud Gate II to Leon Dai (戴立忍) and Labor Exchange (交工樂團). \nWhile this is being done in the name of broadening the horizons of poetry, it looks more like a case of anxiety on the part of organizers that mere poets will never bring in the crowds. \nWhile many of the events will be taking place at Chungshan Hall, approximately 30 percent will be distributed to other venues including Eslite Bookstore's Tunhua South Road branch, Taipei Artists' Village, Tamkang University Campus and so on, to give the event citywide relevance. \nTomorrow and Sunday, the event will start off with a major show of multimedia poetry at Chungshan Hall, which will include poetry recitals, singing, dancing and theatrical performances. Next week on Saturday, Sept. 20, there will be a "night of poets," bringing together major local and foreign poets to talk about their art. Among the biggest names will be Jean-Pierrre Simon, Wolfgang Kubin and Christian Bok. \nTheme events will also feature as part of the festival, with sessions devoted to women's poetry, Aboriginal poetry, poetry celebrating rural Taiwan and, of course, Internet poetry. \nAll these events and much more will be taking place starting tomorrow, through Sept. 26. Details for events can be found at poetry.culture.gov.tw.
The recent fire in the Cheng Chung Cheng (城中城) building in Kaohsiung that killed 46 people will no doubt be remembered for a few minutes, until the news cycle moves on to the next vehicle accident or movie star having an affair. It will likely result in the passage of new, tougher regulations, which will be enforced like all previous rounds of tougher regulations. It will not result in change, however. Karl Marx famously remarked that “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.” Alas, in Taiwan, repeated building fires remain tragedies, created by the farce that is our
Oct.25 to Oct.31 The lower-lying parts of Taipei and New Taipei were submerged in two-meter-deep water for 30 hours in the aftermath of the devastating Typhoon Gloria of September 1963. More than 21,000 hectares of land in the capital region were flooded, with 200 lives lost and massive property and livestock losses. Even ducks were helpless against the torrential waters, with nearly 20,000 perishing just in the Beitou (北投) and Shilin areas (士林). Prior to this calamity, the government had taken a passive approach to flood prevention in the city, building dykes, levees and other structures when needed. But the post-war population
Daniel Pearl World Music Day takes on a special meaning this year as the late journalist’s mother, Ruth Pearl, passed away on July 20 at the age of 85. After Daniel Pearl was tragically abducted and killed by terrorists in 2002 while working for the Wall Street Journal in Pakistan, Ruth and her husband Judea started the Daniel Pearl Foundation, which seeks to promote cross-cultural understanding through journalism and music — Daniel’s two main passions in life. “[Ruth] was a tireless champion of human rights, press freedom, and racial harmony,” concert organizer Sean Scanlan says. “We all remember her devotion
Jazz is back, but just don’t call it a festival as the Give Me Five concert series is set to kick off tomorrow in Taichung. Running through Oct. 31, the small-scale performances take the place of the annual jazz festival, which was canceled for a second year in a row due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In years past, the multi-day event attracted hundreds of thousands of spectators. “It’s totally different this year,” Hsiao Jing-ping (蕭靜萍), head of performing arts for the city’s Cultural Affairs Bureau, says. Nearly 30 traditional and contemporary jazz bands will perform at venues throughout the city. The old