Research & Impact
TRUTH, GOODNESS & BEAUTY: POETRY WITH THE PUBLIC
For the general public, poetry and literature may not seem useful or applicable to daily life. Poetry tends to be seen as something confined to academia. But Prof Charles Kwong, who initiated a Knowledge Transfer project to share knowledge of classical and modern Chinese poetry, thinks otherwise. “In a world of multiple and deepening stress, the sharing of artistic truth and cultural knowledge can improve the quality of life of participants,” he said.
Held variously at the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals Li Ka Shing College, Lock Cha Tea House and on Lingnan campus, the series of poetry talks and workshops led mainly by three scholar-writers Prof Kwong, a former Lingnan colleague Dr Chan Tak-kam, and a Lingnan graduate Mr Cheung Chi-ho, currently working as a literary editor attracted not only secondary and tertiary students, but also adult learners in the audience. “Once, a writer aged 93 came. The participants raised thoughtful questions and took part in discussions,” recalled Prof Kwong. “They also very much enjoyed a Chinese plus English poetry reading and chanting session.”
As a one-year pilot experiment, the Knowledge Transfer project also involved the establishment and formal registration of a poetry society that covers both classical and modern Chinese poetry. Based on this year’s experiment, Prof Kwong has identified a longer-term approach with sustainable Knowledge Transfer impact through various means, such as a mini-series on given writers and themes, short courses in poetry and prose writing, and poetry chanting and reading sessions. He has already discussed the continuation of poetry workshops with Lock Cha Tea House.
One adult learner with an English literature background said: “I never imagined one could read classical Chinese poetry and make it come to life in this way.” Positive response from the project beneficiaries vivid have convinced Prof Kwong that the Knowledge Transfer educational work is worth the while. “I feel confident in saying that such activities have brought real pleasure and understanding to willing learners ready to engage in lifelong learning, something that Lingnan has always promoted,” he stated.