Acceptance Speech for the University of Alberta

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Acceptance Speech for the University of Alberta

It is a great honor for me to receive this honorary degree from the University of Alberta.

Although I have never studied or taught at your university, I did have a student who took some of my courses in Chinese poetry many years ago, and later went to teach at your university. So I think that there is really some connection between the University of Alberta and me.

Once I heard a story which says that long ago, before the oceans were polluted, the blue whales could communicate across the oceans. It makes me think that, likewise, if our hearts are not polluted, like the motto of your university which says “Whatsoever things are true”, when a poet wrote his poetry from his true feeling, then his poetry can move us beyond the limits of time and space.

So I wrote a poem with the lines:

Under the silvery moonlight in the evening tide,

Gentle waves may carry afar the voices lingering in the deep blue seas,

Then in this hour the voices will be heard across a thousand years of time, or a thousand miles across the ocean to the other bank, to be heard by another blue whale.”

Therefore I believe that poetry will be able to move us and build up a kind of friendship across a thousand miles of mountains and oceans.

Chinese classical poetry has always been part of my life since my childhood. I feel very blessed to be able to not only study it, but also make the teaching of it my career and to receive this honorary Doctor of Letters degree from your university. It is truly an honour for me.

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