Best Local Poet

Qiu Xiaolong

Chief Inspector Chen Cao, the protagonist of St. Louis author Qiu Xiaolong's entertaining crime novels, is a lover of and writer of poetry. Perhaps not surprisingly, so's Qiu. In fact, it was poetry that lured him to St. Louis from his native Shanghai in the 1980s. A highly regarded Chinese poet, Qiu had translated many of T.S. Eliot's works. Still, he wanted to expand his knowledge of Eliot — and how better to study the author of "The Wasteland" than to spend a year on a Ford Foundation Fellowship in the city of Eliot's birth? Then came the summer of 1989, and Tiananmen Square. But China's tragedy has been our gain: Qiu has lived here ever since, writing poetry and crafting the seamy world of Inspector Chen. These days Qiu concentrates mainly on his poetry-larded crime novels (he's written four so far), but he has also found time to publish Lines Around China (2003), a collection of his own verse, and Treasury of Chinese Love Poems (2003), which he edited and translated.
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