Pub date: August 27, 2010
Bronze Medal, 2011 Independent Publishers Book Award, Poetry
The Qingming Shanghe Tu scroll is one of the most famous works of Chinese art. Assumed to have been painted in the 12th century by Zhang Zeduan, it depicts in surprisingly realistic detail an ancient cityscape, where peasants and hawkers, merchants and scholars, monks and mandarins contend in an urban labyrinth of streets, river, boats, bridge, and palanquins.
In this compelling suite, Gary Geddes performs an amazing act of poetic ventriloquism, not only giving voice to painter and underprivileged alike, but also conjuring the droll, exacting and turbulent life of this ancient city.
Designed to intertwine the visual East with the colloquial West, Swimming Ginger juxtaposes a text that reads from left to right with a stunning reproduction of the complete Qingming scroll whose narrative is best read from right to left.
“Geddes rolls out his own richly hued tapestry of human passions and pastimes. His poems flow with a fluid, conversational ease, and encompass a wide range of personalities and tone.” Barbara Carey, The Toronto Star
“The book is, as Geddes himself puts it, 'rescue work,' an attempt to recover, reconstruct and reawaken a lost time, fill it with so unique a blend of voices that it will emerge as something new. Each poem crackles with their thoughts and impressions, sometimes contradictory, always entertaining.” Glenn Kletke, Canadian Bookseller