Arthur Sze

Arthur Sze’s latest book is The Glass Constellation: New and Collected Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 2021). He is the recipient of a 2022 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize for Lifetime Achievement from the Poetry Foundation and also of the 2021 Shelley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America. His expanded edition of translations of Chinese poetry, The Silk Dragon II, is forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press in the spring of 2024.

July/Aug 2020

Pyrocumulus

By Arthur Sze

Peony shoots rise out of the earth; at 5 a.m., walking up the ridge, I mark how, in April, Orion’s left arm was an apex in the sky, and, by […]

July/Aug 2018

Whiteout

By Arthur Sze

Honey mushrooms glow in the dark; in a sweat, a journalist wakes to a roadside bomb; when a woman outside a bakery offers to wash your car windshield, you give […]

Summer 1998

Globefish

By Bada Shanren, translated by Arthur Sze

      —from the third of four album leaves   A fine rain drizzles and drizzles on Yellow Bamboo Village. A light boat bobs and bobs among waves and clouds. How can […]

Summer 1998

Inscribed on a Painting

By Shen Chou, translated by Arthur Sze

White clouds, like a sash,       wind around the mountain’s waist. Stone steps rise into the void       on this steep, narrow path. Alone, leaning on a chenopod staff,       I gaze into […]

Summer 2023

Ice Anglers

By Wang Jiaxin, translated by Arthur Sze

In the reservoir near my house, when winter comes, you can see some ice anglers, each one squatting in an old army overcoat. From a distance, they look like crows […]

Summer 2010

After a New Moon

By Arthur Sze

Each evening you gaze in the southwest sky as a crescent extends in argentine light. When the moon was new, your mind was desireless, but now both wax to the […]

Fall 2012

The Unfolding Center

By Arthur Sze

1 Tea leaves in a black bowl:     green snail spring waiting to unfurl.         Nostrils flared, I inhale: expectancy's a seed—     we planted two rows         of sunflowers then drove to Colorado— […]

May/June 2015

Sight Lines

By Arthur Sze

I’m walking in sight of the Río Nambe— salt cedar rises through silt in an irrigation ditch— the snowpack in the Sangre de Cristos has already dwindled before spring— at […]

July/Aug 2015

Python Skin

By Arthur Sze

1 Smoke engulfs a boat in a harbor—we motor  past and recall a flotilla of fishing boats lashed together with Hong Kong skyscrapers  in the distance; when we dock, I […]

Nov/Dec 2016

The Glass Constellation

By Arthur Sze

Apple branches whiten in moonlight; no god with an ibis head and human body writes on a papyrus scroll here; in daylight, snow has accumulated on flagstone and fence posts; […]

July/Aug 2018

Trawler

By Arthur Sze

In first light, a raucous, repeating cry of a bird— you squint at the ocean, where the edge of far water, darker than sky, limns the curving horizon; a white […]

July/Aug 2020

Acequia del Llano

By Arthur Sze

1 The word acequia is derived from the Arabic as-saquiya (water conduit) and refers to an irrigation ditch that transports water from a river to farms and fields, as well […]

July/Aug 2018

Eye Exam

By Arthur Sze

E D F C Z P his eyesight is tethered to shore— no sign of zebras but spotted towhees repair their nest; before the ditch is cleared, plum trees are blossoming along a riparian bank— […]

July/Aug 2018

The White Orchard

By Arthur Sze

Under a supermoon, you gaze into the orchard— a glass blower shapes a glowing orange mass into a horse— you step into a space where you once lived— crushed mica […]

Nov/Dec 2021

Into the Hush

By Arthur Sze

1 A magpie feather gleams in the grass; today you are not having open-heart surgery, nor are you strapped to a hospital bed, inhaling oxygen; you do not mix cement […]

Summer 2023

A Letter to Tao Qian

By Arthur Sze

The Kenyon Review · A Letter To Tao Qian I wish to tell you but lose the words —  more than a millennium later, on another continent, in another language, I […]

Fall 1993

Oolong

By Arthur Sze

1 Tea leaves wilted in sunlight are shaken and bruised so that the edges redden and veins turn transparent. A man at a counter eats boiled silkworms and coughs; a […]

Spring 2000

Before Sunrise

By Arthur Sze

The myriad unfolds from a progression of strokes— one, ice, corpse, hair, jade, tiger. Unlocking a gate along a barbed-wire fence, I notice beer cans and branches in the acequia. […]

Winter 2003

Didyma

By Arthur Sze

1. Disoriented, a woman wanders in the riverbed east then west then east, asks us how to get to County Road 101G. We stare at vertebrae and long bones that […]

Summer 2007

Spectral Lines

By Arthur Sze

1. Who passes through the gates of the four directions? Robin coughs as she tightens a girth, adjusts saddle, and, leading Paparazzo past three stalls, becomes woman-leading-horse-into-daylight. Though the Chu […]