What a world we live in where a man can go to jail for sharing a poem. I much lament the American ambivalence toward poetry, but the Chinese take it quite seriously indeed.
I was ignorant of the plight of poet Zhu Yufu until my friend Russell Streur opened my eyes. I’m grateful to him for creating an online petition and generally fostering awareness of the egregious imprisonment of a man who shared a poem via Skype. While I’m grateful, I’m afraid I’ve also grown obsessed. Luckily Russell provided me a poetic outlet for that obsession by publishing my poem, “7 years for us” on his new poetry project in support of Zhu Yufu, The Bamboo Forest. I hope you will read the words there, and be moved to sign the petition. If you are also poetically inclined, submit your own words to this beautiful space. As an incentive, Russell offers: “Win a year in a Chinese prison.” Ah well, so I’m persona non grata. I didn’t have any plans to visit that country anytime soon.
Additional background information can be found at the Guardian. Did I miss something – where is the American press on this? I hope we’re not ambivalent about human rights abuses, as well.