Plateau Migration is a short collection based upon my Chinese refugee immigrant experience fused with meeting the poetry of the Sixth Dalai Lama, Tsangyang Gyatso (1683–1706). I first encountered these poems while studying translation of Tibetan Buddhist texts and embarking upon an ambitious project to write a historical fiction novel co-authored with Professor Robert Thurman, Indo Tibetan Studies scholar at Columbia University. Though the novel is yet to be published, I began a series of poems in reply to poems I had translated by Tsangyang Gyatso.
Praise for the book
“Every poem in this beautiful collection is like a living thing; every line a deeply drawn breath; every word a heartbeat. In taking the time to read these poems you will be taken on a journey, deep into Annie Bien’s Chinese refugee immigrant experience, you will visit the poetry of the Sixth Dalai Lama, Tsangyang Gyatso, and you will find yourself enchanted and intrigued every step of the way.”
—Paul Sirett, Playwright/Musician, Reasons to be Cheerful
“Personal, cosmic, historical, immediate, exotic, and just around the corner—Annie Bien's flashes of poetry intrigue, challenge, and reward the reader who is open to vision and contemplation, keeping the grain of salt of a sense of humor. I heartily recommend migrating to this plateau!”
—Robert A. F. Thurman, Professor and Author
Be with a saint of compassion,
Your mind finds peace and solace.
Be with Annie's poetry,
Your mind will flow in serenity on the plane of profound bliss and nostalgia.
—Geshe Dorji Damdul, Director, Tibet House, New Delhi
The danger of preoccupation with the material (“The world is too much with us…” as Wordsworth put it) is a perennial subject of poetry. Yet poets have to navigate through and communicate with the things of this world, however much their interests may lie beyond the immediate here and now. The best writing is open to and informed by both realms.
Annie Bien’s poems have a profound sense of otherness and vision, even while they are so precisely located in the recognizable world. Equally aware of our limits and our potential, they are prayerful, thoughtful meditations from a journey we embark on with all creatures.
“Between life and death: one breath,” the poem The Sail reminds us. And yet, here and elsewhere, the poet shows us just how far one such breath may carry us.
Thoughtful, mindful, soulful… these are poems to live with, and it is a real pleasure to find them gathered like this, speaking to each other, as books of poems do, but opening their intimate conversation to the world.
—Pat Boran, Poet
Published by Aldrich Press/Alabaster Leaves Publishing
Photo Credit: John Siegal