Life of Miracles along the Yangtze and the Mississippi
Wang Ping, novelist, poet, scholar and performance artist, will give a multi-media presentation at the Winona Public Library from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, November 10, as part of the Great River Writes Series. The program is titled “Life of Miracles along the Yangtze and the Mississippi” and will include stories from her recent memoir that spans two rivers, two continents, and two cultures as well as related pieces including short films. “Life of Miracles” is a book about how ordinary people perform miracles every day; how people are touched, touching, all the time, across oceans and continents, across time and space, through their stories.
After her presentation Ping will lead a workshop in making prayer flags. She is the founder and director of the Kinship of Rivers project that builds a sense of kinship among the people who live along the Mississippi and Yangtze rivers through exchanging gifts of art, poetry, stories, music, dance and food. She visits communities along the Mississippi giving poetry readings and art workshops, making thousands of flags as gifts and peace offerings between the Mississippi and the Yangtze rivers.
Ping was born in Shanghai, and spent her childhood on an island of the People’s Republic of China in the East China Sea. She spent several years as a farm laborer during the Cultural Revolution. Despite having only a few years of primary education, Ping was admitted to Beijing University, from which she was awarded a BA in English literature. Ping emigrated to the United States and obtained her MA in English literature from Long Island University and her PhD in comparative literature from New York University.
Her books include “Ten Thousand Waves” (poetry), “American Visa” (short stories), “Foreign Devil” (novel)), “Of Flesh and Spirit” (poetry), “The Magic Whip” (poetry), “The Last Communist Virgin” (stories), “New Generation: Poetry from China Today” (editor), “Flash Cards: Poems by Yu Jian” (co-translator), and “Aching for Beauty: Footbinding in China” (a scholarly work). She has won the Eugene Kayden Award for the Best Book in Humanities, the Minnesota Book Award and the Asian American Studies Award. Ping is also the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, New York State Council of the Arts, Minnesota State Arts Board, the Bush Artist Fellowship, Lannan Foundation Fellowship, Vermont Studio Center Fellowship, and the McKnight Artist Fellowship. Her work has been published widely and her performance pieces and collaborations are numerous and always compelling.
Gretel Ehrlich said, “‘Life of Miracles along the Yangtze’ and Mississippi is free-wheeling, unusual, and always charged as it swings back and forth in time and cultures. These are mountain and river tales wound together like eels navigating the muddy waters of political, cultural, and personal displacement and wars waged against the human spirit.”
Sponsors for the Great River Writes Series are River Arts Alliance, Winona Public Library, La Crosse Public Library, La Crosse Area Writers Group, UW-La Crosse English Department, and Women Writers Ink. This event was made possible by a generous grant from the Great River Review.