"A piece of paper with writing on it is flat, but when what is written on that paper fills the mind of a reader, it takes off into the wind like a box kite on a windy day," writes Baziju — the shared voice of poets Roo Borson and Kim Maltman. This exquisite, collaboratively written sequence of prose poems, unfolding through rich, delicate imagery, journeys through streets and gardens, houses and temples, cities and countryside, Canada and China. It is a meditation on the way we travel between places and between times, and how words and ideas travel between languages.
Baziju explores the literature of China, from centuries past to the present, exploring, at the same time, the meaning of hope and of home: childhood homes, the homes we grow into, and the homes in our minds. In Lu Xun's classic story "My Old Home," the hero returns from a distant city to the home he left two decades earlier. Hope, he ponders, "is just like the roads of the earth. . . . [T]o begin with the earth has no roads, but where many people pass, there a road is made."
These sensual, deeply personal prose poems ponder change, loss, friendship, and belonging. In a life in which every detail has significance, the smallest observation grows, and spreads like the branches of wisteria.
KIM MALTMAN is a poet, theoretical particle physicist, and occasional translator who has published five books of solo poetry, over two hundred papers in the scientific literature, and three books of collaborative poetry, most recently Box Kite, published in 2016. In addition to recent solo work which has appeared under a variety of heteronyms, he is involved, in collaboration with Roo Borson, in ongoing translations of the Tang Dynasty poet Li Bai and Song Dynasty poet Su Shi. Past honours include the CBC Literary Prize, and, with collaborators Roo Borson and Andy Patton, the Malahat Poetry Prize, the Earle Birney Prize, and two National Magazine Award finalist appearances. Perhaps his most unusual literary credit is having served as consulting dog poetry editor for André Alexis’s novel Fifteen Dogs. He lives in Toronto with poet and collaborator Roo Borson. Baziju are currently at work on a new manuscript project called Short Moral Tales.
Roo Borson is the author of ten books of poetry, including Short Journey Upriver Toward Oishida, which won the Governor General's Literary Award for Poetry, the Griffin Poetry Prize, and the Pat Lowther Memorial Award. She has also been involved in a number of collaborative projects, including Introduction to the Introduction to Wang Wei, by Pain Not Bread (Roo Borson, Kim Maltman, and Andy Patton). Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies, such as Twentieth Century Poetry and Poetics, the Harbrace Anthology of Poetry, and the Norton Introduction to Literature. Roo Borson lives in Toronto with poet and collaborator Kim Maltman.
Baziju are currently at work on a new manuscript project called Short Moral Tales.
... this collection of stories offers an ever-shifting, slightly translucent veil that is both dense and permeable, tempting readers to peer again and again through the layers.
…aesthetically pleasing and, frankly, delicious.