Martin discusses experience in China

Rodger Martin's “For All the Tea in Zhongguó,”

Rodger Martin's “For All the Tea in Zhongguó,” PHOTO BY ISABELLA MESSA

By ISABELLA MESSA

For the Ledger-Transcript

Published: 04-16-2024 8:01 AM

On Thursday, Dublin Public Library hosted a presentation by Rodger Martin that took a deep dive into his time in China and he talked about his latest book, “For All the Tea in Zhongguó,” which was released in 2019.

The book includes the many Mandarin poems that he wrote and translated from many different Chinese artists such as Zi Chuan, Zhang Mingui, Hong Jo and Shu Yu, as a way of admiring their works. Opening the presentation, Robbie Obien, archivist at Keene State and participant in the 2017 trip, praised Martin’s work as a journalist, poet, teacher and director of Monadnock Pastoral Poets.

“Rodger is a legend in New Hampshire,” he said.

Martin has taken many trips to China, the first of which was in 2012, when he visited the Shanghai University of International Business and Economics.

“If you go there now, you will see many, many Henry David Thoreau quotes. Henry David Thoreau is worshiped in China,” Martin said as he spoke about the effects that English literature has on Chinese cultures and arts.  

Martin brought a group of Keene State College students to China in 2017 so they could learn Chinese culture and Mandarin poetry. Some members even learned more about their heritage.

A big point for Martin was being attentive to Chinese progressivism.

“I see a lot of gender equality coming in Mandarin art,” he said, as he talked about the variety of books, poetry and art he brought back from China, including one from artist Zi Chuan.

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“A lot of Zi Chuan’s work is about love affairs that didn't quite work out,” he said, adding that not only is Mandarin art and poetry evolving, but also catering to a deep meaning below the surface of the writings.