This time last week, I was giving a lecture for a Chinese audience at one of the U.S. consulates in China. I’ve done several of these now and they’re always fun. My game-show-style lecture on “Women in the Workplace” made rapidly apparent the difference between American and Chinese perspectives on women’s professional contributions to society. My lecture on America’s Prohibition showed that, shockingly, Al Capone takes a backseat to F. Scott Fitzgerald when it comes to Chinese familiarity with infamous 1920s Americans.
This go-round, the trusting folks at the Consulate made the strategic error of letting me lecture on literature–a dangerous move, as it’s a topic on which I tend to wax more than poetic (pun intended!). To anybody who may ever be tempted to chat books with me, I’m warning you now: beware! It’s not until a film of boredom glazes over my conversational partner’s eyes that I pick up on the cue to STOP TALKING.
If you’re lucky. Continue reading “Impromptu Poetry & Lit Lectures”