NRK‘s recent interview with poet-tycoon Huang Nubo soon drifted, fittingly, into the realm of poetry. He is, after all, “first of all a poet” who became a businessman just “to survive”. (Before becoming a businessman, he survived as an editor for an Association of Mayors – at the time when he published his first poetry collection – and, before that, as an official at the Propaganda Department.)
“Do you know the French publishing house Gallimard?” he asked his interviewer. “They are one of the top publishers in the world. In the last hundred years, they have never published poetry by Asian poets [this is almost true], but this year they are going to publish a poetry collection by me.”
In other, possibly unrelated news, André Velter, since 1999 the director of Gallimard’s poetry series, was with Huang earlier this month in the latest edition of a Chinese-French poetry festival, organised among others by Huang’s company Zhongkun 中坤 in Beijing. It’s quite a coincidence for Huang to announce that his poetry will appear in a collection directed by Velter, just after he’s praised the Norwegian government for refraining from meeting the Dalai Lama. Had the Norwegians ignored China’s warnings and met the guy, he had implied, his investment plans in the country might not be able to proceed. Velter, a poet, and his partner Marie-José Lamothe, a photographer and tibetologist, have often written about Tibetan issues, and he hasn’t been particularly enthusiastic about Chinese rule in the region, which he describes as “a brutal occupation“.
That Huang is a poet is mentioned pretty much everywhere he’s talked about, but this blog actually quotes his poetry from time to time.