RICHARD BERENGARTEN


CHANGING

 

Richard Berengarten’s new book length-poem, entitled CHANGING, is dedicated to the ancient Chinese masterpiece, the YIJING, or BOOK OF CHANGES, which is one of the great books of the world, similar to the Bible in in its far-reaching historical and geographical influence and importance.


CHANGING is an unusual book in several respects. It is an English poet’s homage to the Chinese cultural, literary and philosophical tradition. As such, it is unique. The book consists of 450 short poems. Here is one of them:

HUMBLING

Way

What is low
sits on what is
most high

having little
hoarding nothing
wanting nothing

willing nothing
winning nothing
nothing wanting.

What is, it
shares, splits
and spills

brags not
complains not
bullies not

divides
without despair

dispassionate

cheerful and modest                         unassuming and courteous

Changing is the most ambitious poem ever written outside the Chinese language in honour of the Book of Changes, or Yijing. Changing is a homage both to this ancient text and to Chinese history and culture. The poem takes direct inspiration from the Chinese classic, as well as its form and the inter-relationships of its parts. The work is a remarkable achievement in its own right and a living testament to the enduring and universal quality of the Yijing.

The Chinese edition, to be published in 2017-18, will have an imaginative, elegant and original format wholly suited to the Yijing. The foremost living Western authority on the Yijing, Professor Edward L. Shaughnessy of Chicago University, will contribute a preface. Calligraphy will be by the distinguished poet-calligrapher Yu Mingquan. The team of translators will be led by Dr. Chen Shangzhen, Fellow of the English Poetry Studies Institute (EPSI) at Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou.

 

"This is Berengarten’s magnum opus." 
— John Matthias, poet and Emeritus Professor of English, University of Notre Dame, USA.

"Here, we have unsurpassable work. A perfect synchrony of content and form, and on such a large scale that the book acts as a magnetic field. Berengarten’s Changing remodels and reinvents the ancient non-linear perception of the world."
— Paschalis Nikolaou, Lecturer in Literary Translation, Ionian University, Corfu, Greece.

 "Wonderfully human and wide-ranging, with a masterly handling of forms and tones."
— Carl Schmidt, Emeritus Fellow in English, Balliol College, Oxford.

"The vision is daunting, an epic composed of lyrics, a cathedral of a poem, one in which the key element is the sound that resonates under the dome."
—  Paul Pines, poet and psychotherapist.