(Confucius Institute, UNSW)
So I searched and in seconds found his website, which announces that he is a "NOVELIST AND POET." I kept reading. The site offers a brief, thorough introduction:
Qiu Xiaolong was born in Shanghai, China. He is the author of the award-winning Inspector Chen series of mystery novels, Death of a Red Heroine (2000), A Loyal Character Dancer (2002), When Red Is Black (2004), A Case of Two Cities (2006), Red Mandarin Dress (2007), and The Mao Case (2009). He is also the author of two books of poetry translations, Treasury of Chinese Love Poems (2003) and Evoking T'ang (2007), and his own poetry collection, Lines Around China (2003). Qiu's books have sold over a million copies and have been published in twenty languages. He currently lives in St. Louis with his wife and daughter.Wikipedia additionally informed he had raised money for the students who participated in the Tiananmen Square Revolution of 1989, thus he thought better of returning to China after a trip to the US for research on a book on St. Louisan T. S. Eliot. Qiu has, it's clear, received a great deal of praise for novels, and at least one has been made into a movie. I checked out his poems. One of the first I came across is the one below; it's unclear whether he wrote it initially in English or it's a translation, but either way, it's pretty tight. (I would say that as hard as it is to write proper prose in another language, it's even harder to write do so with poetry.) On the back cover of Lines Around China, republished now as Lines Around China: Lines Out of China, he even sports a blurb from Mona Van Duyn (1921-2004), the former Poet Laureate of the United States in 1992, and a highly lauded writer, who received the 1971 National Book Award for her collection To See, To Take (Atheneum, 1970), and the 1991 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for her collection The Near Changes (Knopf, 1990). I also know of her because when I was growing up, she was one of the famous writers living in St. Louis (the other local bigwigs of that era were William Gass, Stanley Elkin, Howard Nemerov, and Donald Finkel, most of them associated with Washington University in St. Louis, which is also where Van Duyn taught too).
I can't tell whether Qiu is affiliated with Washington University (though he did receive his MA and PhD in Comparative Literature from there, which makes me think he must have had some direct contact with Gass, at least), but a Mona Van Duyn blurb is the biz, and I do like this poem, which is a lighthearted poem about poetry, so I'm posting it. When I get the opportunity, I'll also read one of his mysteries. They do sound worth the while.
(Bonus: The Browser's "FiveBooks Interviews" with Qiu Xiaolong on Classical Chinese Poetry)
POETRY Back home at 8:30 with five or six small fish in the pail including the baby blue gill which could hardly count, a water snake, its triangular head smashed into a rotten persimmon--still, not a too bad day, I have to say, a sunburned nose peeling under the scrutiny of my wife who, discovering a China-like map of mosquito bites on my bare back, snaps: What's the point--nine hours under the scorching sun, you have to buy the gasoline, the drink, the bait, two hot dogs, half a pack of Camels, and now these tiny fish, three bucks' worth in a market, you are really hooked. An accountant, she sees no point calculating a split-second of catching the golden sun in silver scales.
Copyright © Qiu Xiaolong, "Poetry," from Lines Around China: Lines Out of China, Saint Louis: CreateSpace, 2008. All rights reserved.