In his 45 years (813AD – 858AD), Li Shangyin wrote many marvelous poems
on diverse topics. His output was perhaps in the thousands, but many poems are
lost and a little over 500 remain.
The core of his work, his poems, concern the dichotomy between enduring
love or friendship, and the temporality of all things. All have been translated
and interpreted by Mark and are available online starting February at http://atangpoetfromnairobi.com
The project encompasses a book and a
web site, and the goals are to present the work of the fascinating
Tang poet Li Shangyin to a western audience in its entirety, and secondly, to integrate Mark’s
personal observations and meditations on Kenya, China and America using Li
Shangyin as a muse, so to speak. For example, blog posts are included as well as calligraphy and recordings of Mark's piano playing and compositions.
"I want the general public to
know the Chinese wrote great poetry.” Mark says, "And help avoid searching for this great poet’s
works in bits and pieces. Furthermore, not being a
professional translator, I wanted to post my interpretations as a work in
progress that will benefit from
other’s input and ideas, including academics. Finally,
I think it is important to express personally how Li Shangyin's insights can inspire across three cultures: America,
Kenya and China."