Sze, Arthur 1950- (Arthur C. Sze)
Sze, Arthur 1950- (Arthur C. Sze)
Born December 1, 1950, in New York, NY; son of Morgan (a chemical engineer) and Agnes Lin (a painter) Sze; married Carol Moldaw (a poet); children: Micah, Sarah. Ethnicity: "Chinese-American." Education: University of California, Berkeley, B.A., 1972.
Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe, NM, instructor in English, 1984-89, director of creative writing program, 1989-96, professor of creative writing, 1989-2006, professor emeritus, 2006—. Washington University, St. Louis, MO, Visiting Fannie Hurst Professor of Creative Literature, 2005. Artist in residence at Naropa Institute, 1989, 1995, 1998, 2004, Brown University, 1991, and Bard College, 1991; Mary Baldwin College, Elizabeth Kirkpatrick Doenges Visiting Artist, 2004-05. Tooth of Time Books, member of board of directors, 1985-88; Tone Roads West: Poetry and New Music Festival, poetry coordinator, 1983; participant in public readings, workshops, and writers' conferences; visiting poet at schools in Alaska and New Mexico; judge in writing contests.
Grants from National Endowment for the Arts and Santa Fe Council for the Arts, both 1979, 1980, and 1982; creative writing fellowships, National Endowment for the Arts, 1982 and 1993; fellow, Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry, 1983, 1994, and 1997; grant from New Mexico Arts Division, 1988; George A. and Eliza Gardner Howard Foundation fellow at Brown University, 1991; Lannan Literary Award for poetry, 1995; American Book Award, Before Columbus Foundation, 1996, for Archipelago; Guggenheim fellowship, 1997; Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Writer's Award, 1997; Award for Excellence, Institute of American Indian Arts Foundation, 1998; Balcones Poetry Prize, and Asian American Literary Award, both 1999, for The Redshifting Web: Poems, 1970-1887; Western States Book Award for translation, Western States Arts Federation, 2002, for The Silk Dragon: Translations of Chinese Poetry; named faculty of the year, American Indian Higher Education Consortium, 2006; named first poet laureate of the city of Santa Fe, 2006.
The Willow Wind, Rainbow Zenith Press (Berkeley, CA), 1972, revised edition published as The Willow Wind: Poems and Translations from the Chinese, Tooth of Time Books (Santa Fe, NM), 1981.
Two Ravens, Tooth of Time Books (Santa Fe, NM), 1976, revised edition published as Two Ravens: Poems and Translations from the Chinese, 1984.
Dazzled, Floating Island Publications (Point Reyes, CA), 1982.
River River, Lost Roads Publishers (Providence, RI), 1987.
Archipelago, Copper Canyon Press (Port Townsend, WA), 1995.
The Redshifting Web: Poems 1970-1998, Copper Canyon Press (Port Townsend, WA), 1998.
The Silk Dragon: Translations of Chinese Poetry, Copper Canyon Press (Port Townsend, WA), 2001.
Quipu, Copper Canyon Press, (Port Townsend, WA), 2005.
Work represented in anthologies, including Articulations: The Body and Illness in Poetry, edited by Jon Mukand, University of Iowa Press (Iowa City, IA), 1994; Premonitions: The Kaya Anthology of New Asian North American Poetry, edited by Walter Lew, Kaya Production (New York, NY), 1995; I Feel a Little Jumpy around You, edited by Naomi Shihab Nye and Paul Janeczko, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1996; What Book!? Buddhist Poems from Beats to Hiphop, edited by Gary Gach, Parallax Press (Berkeley, CA), 1998; and American Alphabets: Twenty-five Contemporary Poets, edited by David Walker, Oberlin University Press (Oberlin, OH), 2006.
Editor of the collections I Am Waiting to Be Free, 1981, and Cuentos III, 1984. Contributor to periodicals, including Conjunctions, Paris Review, Kenyon Review, Boston Review, Field, American Poetry Review, Hanging Loose, and Virginia Quarterly Review. Contributing editor, Buttons, 1971-73, and Tyuonyi, 1985-94. Corresponding editor, Manoa, 1998—.
Arthur Sze is a poet whose work, according to Albuquerque Journal reviewer John Tritica, "resides somewhere in the intersection of Taoist contemplation, Zen rock gardens and postmodern experimentation." Sze was born in New York City in 1950, and he was educated at the University of California at Berkeley in the early 1970s. In 1984 he began teaching at the Institute of American Indian Arts.
Sze's poetry collection Archipelago was described by Tritica as "an important poetic achievement." In these poems Sze sometimes produces unlikely juxtapositions of imagery, and he expresses both the sensual and the philosophical. "His achievement is solid because he enacts a synthesis of the life-sustaining web that is both Eastern and Western," Tritica observed, "both fragile and durable." Another reviewer, Gene Frumkin, wrote in Manoa that the poems in Archipelago "show a remarkable ability to seize on nature and human undertakings without cataloging them." Frumkin called Sze a "precisionist" and added that the poet's work reveals the creator to be a "wise man." C.L. Rawlins, meanwhile, commented in the Bloomsbury Review, "There are very few books of poetry that hold such a variety of passion … in such compassionate and graceful form."
In The Redshifting Web: Poems 1970-1998, Sze charts his artistic development of nearly twenty years. William MacNeil wrote in New Mexican, "One of the joys of The Redshifting Web is seeing the evolution Arthur Sze has made from young, always lyrical poet to complex writer, drawing images from a wide range of sources to create rich tapestries." MacNeil concluded that the volume "will well reward poetry lovers."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Albuquerque Journal, January 5, 1997, John Tritica, review of Archipelago.
Bloomsbury Review, July-August, 1996, C.L. Rawlins, review of Archipelago.
Boston Review, July-August, 2006, Brain Teare, review of Quipu, p. 41.
Field, spring, 2006, David Walker, review of Quipu, pp. 86-91.
Manoa, November, 1996, Gene Frumkin, review of Archipelago, pp. 218-220.
New Mexican, June 21, 1998, William MacNeil, review of The Redshifting Web: Poems 1970-1998.
Washington Post Book World, August 2, 1998, Robert Haas, "Poet's Choice."