There has always been a strong tradition of Eastern poetry. This has crossed the regions from the north in Far Eastern Russia and Japan down to the southern reaches of South East Asia in Indonesia. Until sometime in the nineteenth century nearly all literature in the region was in fact poetry. The richness of eastern poetry and strength of its tradition can be seen across history. Tens of thousands of poems exist from the Chinese Tang dynasty of 600-900. Love letters in the form of poetry were written by both men and women in the Hei’an court of Imperial Japan of 800-1200. In South East Asia, moving forward slightly, we see ancient Javanese Sekar ageng and madya poetry. There is also the Khlong style of ancient Thailand. From these early starts a strong tradition in eastern poetry in local tongues both ancient and modern has built across the regions. In recent times we even see the addition of English to the poetry of the East. This is really where Eastlit comes in.
Eastern Poetry and Eastlit.
Since we launched Eastlit we have seen the tradition of poetry continue. Spread across each issue we have often found more poems than pieces of prose. There has been a strong cast of poetry from locals experimenting in English. This has been complimented by both locals and others continuing in the traditional genres and styles of Eastern poetry. Plus we have seen the modern addition of poetry covering living away from the East.
In issue one we saw the Mahanaya Buddhist inspired poetry of Arkava Das. As the months have ticked by we have seen the modern poems of third culture by Valerie Wong. Student Zach Wilson tried a more traditional Western Dao. Colin Campbell contributed Haiku from Sarawak as well as traditional Malaysian pantoums. Anna Yin has more recently added in her own unique style with poems touching on the old, traditional and modern. She features in both the March and May issues of Eastlit. Rose Lu has helped in continuing the strong showing that we have seen by Chinese women writing poetry in English.
At Eastlit we are proud to be able to offer a medium to showcase this continuing tradition of Eastern Poetry. We are happy to be part of its ongoing development as East meets West and the combination creates something new.
Thank you to all the poets engaged in the poetry of the East in all its current meanings. We will continue to work with you to bring what you create to our readers.