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AUTUMN RECOMMENDATION: KIT FAN

Posted on July 26 2018

Kit Fan's As Slow As Possible is a book of changes, of unlikely bridges between far-flung places and times, a collection of shape-shifting, trans-migrant poems that travel across geographies and time zones. There are poems about the slow life of trees which establish links across time and space, about environmental catastrophe, art in war zones, artworks that travel across time, all of them reflecting on mortality and survival. Divided into three parts, the book weaves back and forwards between East and West, past and present, art and memory, pivoting around a central sequence called 'Genesis', an uncanny re-telling of Chinese creation myths in the language of the Authorised Version. The first part of the book is a brilliantly chromatic travelogue, while the collection ends with a more grounded sequence, 'Twelve Months', focusing on a kind of diurnal poetic house-keeping, based on the poet's migrant life in Yorkshire.

Kit Fan was born in Hong Kong and moved to the UK at the age of 21. He studied at the Chinese University of Hong Kong before completing a doctoral thesis on Thom Gunn at the University of York. In 2017 he was shortlisted for the Guardian 4th Estate BAME Short Story Prize for 'Duty Free' and the TLS Mick Imlah Poetry Prize. In 2018 he won a Northern Writers' Award for Diamond Hill, a novel-in-progress portraying a deprived community in the last shanty town in Hong Kong. His first book of poems Paper Scissors Stone won the inaugural HKU International Poetry Prize in 2011 and his translation of Classical Chinese poetry won one of the Times Stephen Spender Prizes in 2006.

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