THINKING ABOUT GERMANY, LIAO YIWU, AND EMPTY CHAIRS
Three years ago I was invited to participate in the Berlin Poetry Festival. I have many fond memories of that trip and still consider it one of the highlights of my writing life. It's a powerful thing to travel internationally in order to share your work with people -- with readers and writers -- from around the world. The invitation was an honour. The experience was unforgettable.
Today in China there is another poet who has been invited to a literary festival in Germany. His name is Liao Yiwu. Unfortunately, he will not be able to attend his conference in Cologne. The Chinese government, which has been cracking down lately on people they consider dissidents, will not allow Liao Yiwu to leave the country.For those of us in Canada, similar restrictions would be unthinkable....
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