Randy Roark

This category contains 30 posts

A Poet’s Progress: Religion Observance in Present-Day China and Tibet

Roadside Shrine, on Kora around Potala Palace, Lhasa Religious Observance in Present-Day China and Tibet Having visited the Sera Monastery today with hundreds of monks debating in the courtyard, and seeing all the pilgrims arriving at the monasteries and temples, I wonder about the religious persecution I was led to expect. Xi says there are … Continue reading

A Poet’s Progress: Sera Monastery and Jokhang Temple, Lhasa, Tibet

Potala Palace from Pilgrim’s End, atop Jokhang Temple A Tibetan Creation Myth On a bus into the mountains above Lhasa to visit the Buddhist Sera Monastery, I asked Tendzin if he was taught any creation myths as a child. Tendzin said when he was a boy living on a farm in the mountains—37 years ago—he … Continue reading

A Poet’s Progress: Lhasa, Tibet

Mountains and Sky above Lhasa, Tibet Title: Lhasa, Tibet I was a Snake, slipping out from under a sleeping woman who smelled of lavender and smoke and coconut. She was tiny and I felt as large as a walrus beside her, both taking up too much space and not having enough room to get comfortable … Continue reading

A Poet’s Progress: Xian’s Poet’s Park; God Hates Pandas and Wants Them to Die; A Kora Around Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet

The Poet Du Fu, Poet’s Park, Xian Day Nine: Donghan Farmers’ Village What I Asked Xi to Translate to My Hosts So They Would Understand My Gifts I will be saying very many words before I get to your presents. I apologize for this in advance and ask for your patience. This morning I walked … Continue reading

A Poet’s Progress: Why Butterflies Are Always Seen in Pairs; a Painting Lesson; the Mosou’s Walking Marriage, a Visit to Xian’s Poetry Park, and a Village Dance

  Yangtze Dancer Xian: Day Five: We Come Upon a Pair of Butterflies and Xi Explains Why Butterflies Are Always Seen in Pairs Zhu Yingtai was a beautiful and intelligent young woman, the ninth child but only daughter of a wealthy family in Shangyu. At the time girls were not allowed to attend school, but … Continue reading

A Poet’s Progress: How I Work with My Notes, Creation Myths, and the Story of the Lovers, Niulang and Zhinu

Black Swan, Panda Refuge, Chengdu, China Prelude: Third Evening in Hong Kong On my second-to-last night in Hong Kong, I was having dinner with a couple from our group and they said they’d seen me writing a lot on this trip and wondered what I was writing. So I paged through my notebook to refresh … Continue reading

A Poet’s Progress: More Stories from Hong Kong

Xi tells me that in Mao’s time being rich and even dreams of getting rich were considered social crimes in China. But when his successor, Deng Xiaoping, assumed power in 1978, his first speech announced that helping every Chinese citizen become rich was going to be the driving force for the future of China. This … Continue reading

A Poet’s Progress: My Two Favorite Buddhist Stories (In the air, between Lhasa, Tibet, and Chengdu, China)

Unretouched Photo, Chinese Opera, Beijing, China Sitting next to Xi on the plane out of Lhasa, I ask her if she knows the story of Buddha and the snake. I tell her it’s my second-favorite Buddhist story. I first heard it from Lama Surya Das, a Dzogchen Buddhist. Xi frowns. Once again I’ve proven that … Continue reading

A Poet’s Progress: Flashback: Traveling to Greece and Cyprus in 2005 with Percussionist Layne Redmond (1952-2013) and Ten Women Drummers to Perform Rituals at Sites Sacred to Aphrodite and Dionysus

Layne goes first (of course): Aphrodite’s Spring, Cyprus, May 2009. Foreground: Mary Rockwood Lane and Marina Kyprigenea—“Born in Cyprus of the Sea”—who remain very present in my life, tho half the world away. Foreword On October 30th , 2013, I posted on my company’s website the following memorial for Layne Redmond, who had died two … Continue reading

A Poet’s Progress: Poetic Apprentice – Life Lessons from Ginsberg, Snyder and Whalen

Karen Finley: Psychic Portrait of Randy Roark, Boulder, Colorado, 2003 Editor’s note: This piece was adapted from an original interview of our wandering poet-in-residence Randy Roark conducted by Michael Limnios of Athens, Greece, for his Mixalis series of interviews with the Beats and students of the Beats, January 18, 2013; embellished and illustrated for Newtopia’s … Continue reading