Jueju (绝句) Poetry Teach-In

Jueju (绝句) Poetry Teach-In
with Professor Jonathan Stalling, University of Oklahoma

Tuesday 8th December, 3.30pm-5pm

Dr Stalling was due to speak at our Annual Chinese Teaching Conference in June, so we are delighted to be able to introduce him and his wonderful work with Chinese poetry to our teaching community this term. Dr Stalling has created a wealth of freely accessible teaching resources and is -for the first time- opening up an acclaimed student poetry competition to receive entries from the UK in collaboration with our CI.

About Jueju

As you will know, stretching across the centuries from the Tang Dynasty onwards, poetry composition was a way to demonstrate learning for those hoping for a career in the government of Imperial China. It was thought that the ability to harmonise the world and language through poetry revealed one’s ability to do the same in human affairs.

The strict rules of Jueju, a stanza of four lines, became a form of competitive wordplay for aspiring and established statesman, and it is this spirit of self-cultivation and gameplay that Professor Stalling uses to encourage English-speaking students to compose their own classical Chinese poetry in English.

Through a series of specially-created and curated learning materials, English and Chinese teachers can guide students in hands-on exercises that provide them with a deeper understanding and appreciation of classical Chinese literary culture. This year Dr. Stalling has opened the Newman Prize for English Jueju to UK students, which means winning students will take home a certificate signed by the President of University of Oklahoma and $500! They will also have their poems read in a special ceremony celebrating the 2021 Newman Prize for Chinese Literature winner Yan Lianke in early March. You are invited to join this teach-in, try your hand at the exercises and learn how to help your students become “jinshi” true scholar-poets!

About the Teach-In

This session will give the background to Dr Stalling’s work and materials, explaining why Jueju composition can be a great “entry point” to Chinese culture helping students create a more personal and lasting link with Chinese culture, even with little to no Chinese language skills. He will introduce teachers to the learning materials he has developed (available freely online) and by the end of the teach-in, teachers will not only understand Jueju poetry rules, but leave with their own Jueju! He will further discuss ways in which teachers in Oklahoma use the materials according to both age and subject (English, Chinese, Social Studies/History), and there will be time for discussion about ways this could work in a UK Chinese classroom setting, or as a remote-learning project (if school/ year-groups need to study from home). If teachers are interested in subsequent focused teach-in sessions and/or materials, we will be able to organise this next term.

About the Newman Prize for English Jueju

The prestigious Newman Prize for English Jueju is a poetry competition for students; their winning entry also sits alongside the Newman Prize for Chinese Literature which has had such renowned winners as Xi Xi, Wang Anyi, Chu T’ien-wen, Yang Mu, Han Shaogong and Mo Yan. This year the Chinese author Yan Lianke will receive the award.

Previously the Newman Prize for English Jueju was only available to students from Oklahoma but this year, in collaboration with our UCL IOE Confucius Institute for Schools, we are delighted to say that this competition will be open for entries from UK schools. We very much hope that you are inspired by this initial teach-in to work with your students and encourage them to submit an entry.

About Professor Stalling

Dr. Stalling is the Harold J. & Ruth Newman Chair of US-China Issues and Professor of International and Area Studies as well as Co-Director of the Institute for US-China Issues, where he directs The Newman Prize for Chinese Literature, The Newman Prize for English JuejuChinese Literature Today, the CLT book series (University of Oklahoma Press) and the US-China Poetry Dialogue. He is also the founder and Curator of the Chinese Literature Translation Archive and an Affiliate Professor of English.

Dr. Stalling specializes in Comparative US-China Culture, Literature, and Poetics as well as Chinese-English translation and interlanguage studies (and pedagogies). He teaches courses on various aspects of US-China cultural, literary, and linguistic studies. He is the author or editor of eight books: Poetics of Emptiness (Fordham), Grotto Heaven (Chax), Yingelishi: Sinophonic Poetry and Poetics (Counterpath) and Lost Wax: Translation through the Voidand he is the co-editor of The Chinese Written Character as a Medium for Poetry (Fordham), By The River: Contemporary Chinese Novellas (Oklahoma) and Contemporary Taiwanese Women Writers (Cambria). He is the translator of Winter Sun: Poety of Shi Zhi (1966-2005), which was a finalist for the National Translation Award. His opera Yingelishi (吟歌丽诗) was performed at Yunnan University in 2010, and a portion of a newly scored version was staged by Opera 180 in Kansas City in 2018. Stalling was the first non-Chinese Poet in Residence of Beijing University, and was also Poet in Residence of Hongcun (Huangshan, Anhui, China) in 2015 and of Lingshui Tan in 2019. Stalling’s interlanguage work was the subject of two TEDx Talks (TEDx Talk #1 and TEDx Talk #2), and exhibitions of his work can be found at www.poeticsofinvention.ou.edu. This work is the subject of a new book forthcoming from Hong Kong University Art Museum Press, entitled “Ying-ge-li-shi: The Inter-language Art of Jonathan Stalling, ed Wang Chen.

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