Edward Ragg is a poet, critic and wine professional based in Beijing, China. His poems have appeared in Aesthetica, Acumen, Agenda, Critical Quarterly, Envoi, Gastronomica, Poetry Quarterly, PN Review, Seam, The New Writer and Three Line Poetry. Selections from his work were anthologized in New Poetries IV (Carcanet, 2007) and Visiting Wallace: Poems Inspired by the Life and Work of Wallace Stevens (Iowa University Press, 2009). Ragg’s poem ‘Mutton Fat Jade’ was a runner-up in the 2009 Troubadour International Poetry Prize. He is an Associate Professor of English at Tsinghua University, where he teaches literature in English and has established the university’s first course in wine. He is co-founder, with Fongyee Walker, of Dragon Phoenix Wine Consulting. His poem "Some Other Mea Culpa" will be featured in the 2012 anthology, "Lung Jazz: Young British Poets for Oxfam." Ragg recently won the 2012 Cinnamon Press Poetry Award, and his first book of poems, A Force that Takes, will be published by Cinnamon in 2013.
Wang Ao and the Lobster
Wang Ao, poet and translator, born Qingdao, sits in New Haven. He is about to cook a ten pound Maine lobster for his friends.
This creature, Ao, swims in the ocean of your sense
You read, stanza by stanza, a Buddhist tract
An idea of birth or ceremony, as if life
Ambassador, you are stationed in New Haven
Or back again, my own voice stroke-marked
Claw by claw, snapped, but not butter-dunked,
Years ago, at a fishery, a plucky one, unshackled,
Its chances with the perch – even if watch
Key West by Panama, then the long soak
Until the moons of your fingernails are
It reminds you of your prehensile state,