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Concise poetry expresses rich meaning

   作者: Liu CHEN    人气: 195    日期:2017/8/14


Concise poetry expresses rich meaning


Song Lam (standing) and three Auckland Hanpai poets - Naiwen Hu, Yuqian Gao and Shahaiyili - at the launch of The First World Hanpai Collection in Auckland on July 9.

Howick resident Song Lam says the publication of a Chinese poetry anthology is the result of a "snowball effect".

The First World Hanpai Collection, co-edited by Lam and Lesan Duan​, a poet from China's Hunan province, was published in Taiwan and launched in Auckland in July, and will soon be available at the city's libraries.

It collected 1000 Hanpai poems written by 462 poets from 19 countries, including 20 New Zealanders, over the past six years.

Song Lam and her new book - The First World Hanpai Collection.

Song Lam and her new book - The First World Hanpai Collection.


Hanpai originates from Japanese Haiku and features a pattern of three lines with only 17 Chinese characters - five in the first and third lines, and seven in the second.

Lam instantly fell in love with this genre when a friend sent her a Hanpai magazine in 2002. She then contacted Duan, the editor of the magazine, and expressed her interest in learning how to write it.

"The simple sentences can express lots of meanings," Lam says.


Song Lam says she'd like to show that Chinese culture has various forms.

​"There aren't many people that know about it given its short history of about 40 years.

"Some may think it's weird because it only has three lines. Actually, many people don't have much time to read long articles nowadays, and Hanpai allows people to express their thoughts by very simple words." 

She shared her passion with friends around the world by inviting them to write on the same topic, and the initiative was warmly received.

There are more people gradually joining, and the poems have been published in the New Zealand Chinese Herald down the years before Lam and Duan started collecting and editing them half a year ago.

"I'm very pleased to get it done. It's very interesting to see how people react differently to the same topic," Lam says.

"We'd also like to show Chinese culture has various forms. Aside from the more complicated traditional poems, we've also got Hanpai."

Coming to New Zealand in 1990, the former teacher from Hong Kong has devoted her life to education and culture communication, having published 10 books including several on education, and Maori.

She founded the Eastern Language Corner in 1996, an East Auckland voluntary group helping new immigrants with their English, and only retired from the group last year to take care of her husband.

Her services to the community were nationally recognised with a Queen's Service Medal in 2006.

Now working as a part-time bilingual educational advisor for Auckland schools, Lam is enjoying her quieter life in the literary world.

"Having a positive attitude is very important. Doing things you like makes you look and feel young."

 - Stuff



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