Win the chance to read your poem at the Beijing Bookworm Literary Festival!

By Stefan Van Assche, February 19, 2014

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On Sunday March 16, 'Poetry Night in Beijing' will give at least four poets a chance to read their work at the Beijing Bookworm Literary Festival.

The poets will be selected from anyone who submits their work to before March 1, and winners will read their poems at the Bookworm audience. There are no limits on theme, subject, or style, as long as the pieces are original and in English. Poems written with a strong voice that plumb the depths of honesty and emotion while remaining intellectually compelling will be favored.

Entries will be anonymised and read by Canaan Morse, poetry editor of Pathlight: New Chinese Writing, a Beijing-based literary magazine published by Paper Republic and People’s Literature Magazine; Helen Wing, Artist-in-Residence at the Harrow International School Beijing and author of the poetry collection Archangel; and Eleanor Goodman, Fulbright fellow, Harvard Fairbank fellow, published poet and translator

We spoke to event organiser Anthony Tao by email about the competition: 

Is this the first time you’ve organised such a contest?

This is indeed. More importantly, it's the first community poetry event in Beijing that I can remember anyone doing. I know there used to be poetry reading groups that regularly met, and poetry has certainly been featured at previous Bookworm's literary festivals, but somehow we've never put those elements together. Why not give local poets a chance to share their work?

How many entries do you expect to get?

To be honest, we have no idea, as we're working without precedent. But we've already received some good ones, which I've anonymized and sent over to our readers -- Canaan Morse, Helen Wing, Eleanor Goodman -- who, on the night of the event, will introduce the poets they've selected and read some of their own work as well.

What kind of length are you looking for? Do short Haiku’s count?

Nothing wrong with haikus. There is no correct length for a poem, of course. Check this out: "lighght" is considered a poem. Seriously. As are, of course, hundred-thousand-lined epics. We would prefer, for the sake of our event, that people submit something in between those two extremes.

Why do entrants have to submit 3 to 6 poems? 

Standard operating procedure -- to give us a good sense of who the poet is. We're looking for quality, not quantity, so if someone only has one poem to share, by all means, send along! A reminder that March 1 is the submission deadline.

Submit if you're a poet! Attend if you're a poetry lover!

Beijing Bookworm Literary Festival tickets on sale now

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