by Sibyl James
The poetry in China Beats is written with insight and wit from the author's experiences as a woman, an American, and teacher in China.
In China Beats, Sibyl James captures, for an American audience, not only her experiences in China, but “a sense of the culture, daily life and history—the deeper rhythms of [China’s] heart. Things that would help U.S. readers better understand where the country had been and where it was going,” says James. A self-proclaimed political leftist, her vision of China is that of an American feminist who both plays with, and reveres, the culture as it modifies and adapts its ancient face. Her visit to China in 1985-86 happened after she responded to an ad from the Chinese Ministry of Education seeking “Foreign Experts.” Her teaching assignment at the Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade was an adventure full of frustrations, mysteries, and serendipities.
Sibyl James is an adventurer who takes her readers with her—each page leads you around another bend in the road. James has an addiction for travel, a desire to experience other cultures, and a mission to make those cultures known to a U.S. audience. She has received major awards for her writing from public foundations.
James has published books in several genres, including poetry, fiction, memoir, and creative nonfiction. Her work has been awarded prizes from Artist Trust, and the Seattle, Washington State, and King County Arts Commissions. Her works have been published internationally in over 100 journal. She holds a PhD in English, and has taught at colleges in the US, China, Mexico, and—as Fulbright professor—Tunisia and Cote d'Ivoire.
Additional Sibyl James poetry books are The Grand Piano Range (Black Heron Press, 2016), The White Junk of Love, Again (Calyx Books, 1998). She also has several short story collections: In China with Harpo and Karl, The Adventures of Stout Mama, The Further Adventures of Stout Mama, and more. Much of her work produces a bridge that give access to other cultures for a US audience, including her Vietnam memoir, Ho Chi Minh's Motorbike, and her account of a year in West Africa, The Last Woro Woro to Treichville.