VERTICAL HARP


Welcome to the strange, hybrid world of Vertical Harp. These poems are the result of a remarkable collaboration between me and a 10th Century Chinese poet, Li He. Since the collection has its own introduction, there’s not much I can say here, except to commend Titus Books for the loving and sumptuous presentation of the poems. The book was very well received critically. I don’t normally go hankering after reviews, but this review in the prestigious Journal of Asian Studies by Sinologist Diana Bridge pleased me. Another review, in the quarterly New Zealand books, by Howard Duncan, also brought a happy blush to my cheek.

Li He has never spoken in English with such force and with such effect. By reducing the weight of punctuation and capitalisation, relegating a limited amount of explanatory material to the back of his book, and excising from his translation parts of the originals that did not lend themselves to translation, Johnson gives us a remarkable “new” Li He.
— Diana Bridge - Journal of Asian Studies