Poems for Peace in China

by Wilbur Birky

In May 2008 Birky was invited to visit China with Yaguchi on behalf of Mennonite Partners in China. Yaguchi was to read his poems and Birky was to comment on them, as well as make presentations on American literature and the English language. It was hoped that Yaguchi's presence and poems would be a gesture toward peace-making between China and Japan, in light of the hostile feelings that still exist in China toward Japan because of atrocities during World War II. Although their planned itinerary was much curtailed because of the earthquake in Sichuan province, some successful meetings were held, and Birky describes a number of encounters in his journal narrative, "Poems for Peace in China."

Comments for Poems for Peace in China

  • Ed Epp

    On April 2, 2009 Ed Epp wrote:

    My wife and I lived and worked in China with the then CEE in the mid 1980's. We were in Shenyang when Yorifumi Yaguchi lived in the same dormitory with us while on a three month assignment. Shenyang was beginning to experience a form of Japanese tourism, particularly former Japanese vetrans, who were not sensitive to the Chinese at that time. There was a strong feeling on campus conerning the Japanese history in Shenyang and China. I remember how powerful Yorifumi's presence was on the campus and in that city at that time. His simple living, powerful poetry, and quiet repentance presented our students with a wonderful witness. We have always felt lucky to be in that place at that time, to witness this presence. Thank you for this article and the poetry.

    Post a comment

Post a comment

Sorry, comments are closed for this journal article. If you have something to share, feel free to get in touch.