Saturday, October 28, 2006

GALSAN TSCHINAG

Galsang Tschinag, chieftan of the Tuvan people in Mongolia is a shaman, storyteller, and poet. He was born in 1943 in the High Altai Mountains in a remote region of Mongolia. The Tuvans still live a nomadic life with their herds of yak, sheep and horses as did their ancient ancestors. A generation ago, the Tuvans lost their their land and thier herds, many started working in industrial jobs and then those were also lost. So, in 1995 Tschinag negotiated a land claim that allowed his people to retun to the Altai. With his earnings from his writings he he bought camels and horses for his impoverished people who were willing to return with him. At the time of his birth Mongolia was under the control of communist rule with anti-religious campaigns with mass executions of Lamaist monks and shamans and the destroying of the temples. Tschinag went to University in Eastern Germany and then wrote books, short fiction, and poetry in the German and Mongolian. His first autobiographical novel The Blue Sky has been translated into English. He is on tour in B.C. and Ontario, and in the United States. The book tells of his nomadic herding family and richly describes the landscape of his mountains and valleys. The Blue Sky was translated into English by B.C. English professor Katharina Rout, who travelled to Mongolia to meet Tschinag on location. The Blue Sky is the first book of Tschinag's to be translated into English.

Tanka (free form)

In the distance
snow-capped mountains
a poet sits in the silence
under a blue sky
his horse near by

Green-blue valleys
the smellof sage
inthe crisp Autumn air
the poet gazes
on a blank white page

The horses
sit and wait
a cloud of smoke
settles over
the still cool air

In Cental Asia
the sound of horses
fills the valleys
alpine blue lakes
deep as time

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