- This event has passed.
John Freeman and Ha Jin at Harvard Bookstore
December 13, 2022 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm EST
John Freeman and Ha Jin will read at Harvard Bookstore on Tuesday December 13th at 7 PM ET.
From the organizers:
Harvard Book Store welcomes JOHN FREEMAN—author and executive editor at Alfred A. Knopf—and award-winning author HA JIN for an evening of poetry and eggnog, featuring readings from Wind, Trees and The Banished Immortal: A Life of Li Bai (Li Po).
Harvard Book Store is excited to be back to in-person programming. To ensure the safety and comfort of everyone in attendance, the following Covid-19 safety protocols will be in place at all of our Harvard Book Store events until further notice:
- Face coverings are required of all staff and attendees when inside the store. Masks must snugly cover nose and mouth.
About Wind, Trees
In Wind, Trees, John Freeman presents a meditation on power and loss, change and adaptation. What can the trees teach us about inhabiting space together? What might we gain if we admit we do not control the wind, and cannot possibly carry all we’ve been handed? Offering a stark moral critique of pandemic self-preservation—as “justifications grew / with greed like vines / up the side of a tree / taking everything”—Wind, Trees joins the ranks of politically urgent yet timeless collections like The Lice by W.S. Merwin. Through narrative lyric and metaphysical pulse, meandering thought and punctuating quiet, Freeman studies the devastating failings of humanity and the redemptive possibilities of love.
About The Banished Immortal
In his own time (701–762), Li Bai’s poems—shaped by Daoist thought and characterized by their passion, romance, and lust for life—were never given their proper due by the official literary gatekeepers. Nonetheless, his lines rang out on the lips of court entertainers, tavern singers, soldiers, and writers throughout the Tang dynasty, and his deep desire for a higher, more perfect world gave rise to his nickname, the Banished Immortal. Today, Bai’s verses are still taught to China’s schoolchildren and recited at parties and toasts; they remain an inextricable part of the Chinese language.
With the instincts of a master novelist, Ha Jin draws on a wide range of historical and literary sources to weave the great poet’s life story. He follows Bai from his origins on the western frontier to his ramblings travels as a young man, which were filled with filled with striving but also with merry abandon, as he raised cups of wine with friends and fellow poets. Ha Jin also takes us through the poet’s later years—in which he became swept up in a military rebellion that altered the course of China’s history—and the mysterious circumstances of his death, which are surrounded by legend.
The Banished Immortal is an extraordinary portrait of a poet who both transcended his time and was shaped by it, and whose ability to live, love, and mourn without reservation produced some of the most enduring verses.