Five Days in TaipeiI am grateful to the Publishers Association of New Zealand (PANZ) and Creative New Zealand (CNZ) for making it possible for me to return to Taipei to promote Island to Island (Dala Publishing) at the Taipei International Book Exhibition (TIBE).
The book is the result of a collaboration between three artists from New Zealand and three from Taiwan: Ant Sang, Tim Gibson, Rachel Fenton (me), 61Chi, Ahn Zhe, and Sean Chuang, that began with the New Zealand Book Council's Graphic Novelists exchange Residency, in association with PANZ and TIBE, back in October 2014.
As then, I kept a visual diary of each day, as well as a photo journal. My Five Days in Taipei begins at Auckland International Airport:
Intriguing messages appear on stands around the book fair.
Upstairs, I am given my first copy of Island to Island in preparation for the workshop I'm about to take part in. I read as the room fills before me with graphic artists, cartoonists, art historians, university professors and students from all over Taiwan.
Sean Chuang's "gift" to me has me in tears.
But Aho is always nearby to make sure I honour my duties!
Before catching a taxi to my next event, I wait for Aho, my publisher, at the Locus book stand and photograph people reading Island to Island.
A quick cab ride across the city has me and Aho in the part of town where he lives. The streets are narrow and the shops varied and of interest to the students who live here to be close to the university.
Just before the event, Aho takes me for something to eat before we meet Yang Chia-Hsien, an acclaimed Taiwanese poet who is going to discuss graphic poetry with me and 61Chi.
I've read several of her works in translation - we exchanged poems - and I feel very honoured to have her praise of my poetry.
We talk about some of the differences between Chinese traditional poetry and Western poetry, and note some similarities between formal poetry and graphic poetry. Island to Island is an unusual collection because of its poetic nature.
As an example of my own graphic poetry, I have taken along posted sized pages of "Alchemy Hour".
Then I take a taxi back to my hotel.
A van transports a box printed with the word "HEART".
The taxi passes The Grand Hyatt, the hotel where the NZ Guest of Honour delegation stayed last February.
In the seating area, a young man has his head in his hands,
elbows on knees. He appears to be crying.
I get up early, eat an extra large breakfast
and head across town to deal with some unfinished business.
The city is pretty deserted at this time.
Another temple. Each time I see one I pass a message to Buddha.
My final event is a group interview in Theme Square.
劉宜其 林嘉萱 關婷勻 張敏慧
After the event, we go for a last meal together: spicy hotpot.
Then 61Chi takes me to see her neighbourhood.