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Watch: US Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith at The Bookworm

In case you missed our poetry event last month headlined by the current U.S. poet laureate, Tracy K. Smith, here’s a video from that night’s proceedings. (Excuse us for the camera placement at the start, we got it fixed very quickly!)

Here’s a rundown of the poems that were read, with timestamps corresponding to the above video:

6:10: Simon Shieh – Little Snow
13:00: Kassy Lee – Master of Beijing; 14:50 – Every 28 Hours, A New Name for Bloodred
17:30: Anthony Tao – That Absent Person | WATCH
23:00: Ming Di – Between Here and There (from “River Merchant’s Wife”); 25:40 – Looking for Maya
31:50: Mario Bojorquez, several poems
49:20: Yi Lei – Love’s Dance (情舞)
50:40: Introduction to Tracy K. Smith
53:10: Tracy K. Smith, several poems | WATCH

Event host Anthony Tao wrote about Smith’s visit to Beijing for SupChina, which you can read here.

Notification: Tracy K. Smith Reading This Thursday at Beijing Union University, with Xi Chuan and Ouyang Jianghe

If you missed Monday night’s event at The Bookworm — it was a good one, with a packed house; we’ll post pictures and videos shortly (UPDATE: here) — there’s another chance to catch US poet laureate Tracy K. Smith in Beijing. She’s reading with nine others this Thursday at 9:40 am at Beijing Union University 北京联合大学. Free.

Included in the lineup are renowned Chinese poets Xi Chuan and Ouyang Jianghe (one of the “Five Masters from Sichuan”), and American poets Kevin Young and John Yau.

Click here for more information, including a list of readers.


Room 418, Rongchuang Building, College of Applied Arts and Science, Beijing Union University
北京联合大学(学院路校区)应用文理学院融创大厦418多功能厅Near Beitucheng subway station, Line 10.


US Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith is Coming to Beijing Bookworm

UPDATE: We’ve posted the full video from the event here.

Attention, poetry lovers: there’s a true can’t-miss event coming up on Monday, October 9 at 7:30 pm, when the current poet laureate of the United States, Tracy K. Smith, comes to The Bookworm in Beijing to give a reading. This will be the first time a sitting US poet laureate has spoken at our humble bookshop.


Smith is the author of three books of poetry. Her 2011 collection, Life on Mars, won the Pulitzer Prize. As The New York Times described it, “As all the best poetry does, ‘Life on Mars’ first sends us out into the magnificent chill of the imagination and then returns us to ourselves, both changed and consoled.”

Smith will be joined by an all-star lineup, including award-winning Mexican poet/translator Mario Bojórquez, prolific Chinese poet/artist Yi Lei, and renowned poet/translator Ming Di. Rounding out the readers are community poets who are active in and have made significant contributions to the local creative arts scene: Matthew Byrne, the creator and managing director of Spittoon [UPDATE: Byrne will not be able to attend]; Simon Shieh, editor-in-chief of Spittoon Literary Magazine and the Beijing Youth Literary Review; and Kassy Lee, co-founder of Transmigrant Flow and Asia coordinator of the Visible Poetry Project.

The event will be hosted by Anthony Tao, a poetry editor and former Bookworm Literary Festival coordinator.

Tickets are on sale now at The Bookworm. The full lineup follows.

Tracy K. Smith is the current U.S. Poet Laureate and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for her 2011 poetry collection Life on Mars. Her long-awaited fourth book of poetry, Wade in the Water, will be published in April 2018. Smith’s memoir, Ordinary Light, was a finalist for the National Book Award in nonfiction. She is currently director of the creative writing program at Princeton University.

Mario Bojórquez, Mexican poet and translator, is co-founder and editor of the internationally renowned journal Círculo de Poesía and founder of the Valparaíso Ediciones México publishing house. He directs the Encuentro Internacional de Poesía Ciudad de México. He has published numerous books of poetry and translation and won awards from Spain and Latin America as well as national awards in Mexico.

Yi Lei, Chinese poet and artist, studied creative writing at the Lu Xun Academy and the Writers’ Program at Peking University. She has published eight collections of poems, among them A Single Woman’s Bedroom, The Love Poems of Yi Lei, and Women’s Age. She spent ten years in Russia as an art dealer and currently lives in Songzhuang artist village.

Ming Di is a Chinese poet based in Los Angeles and a literary translator with publications of four books of poetry from English to Chinese. She has also co-translated four books from Chinese to English, including Empty Chairs (Graywolf Press). She organizes poetry projects and is the China editor of Poetry International Rotterdam.

Matthew Byrne is a British poet who completed his MA in Creative Writing from Manchester Metropolitan University in 2009. He is the founder and director of Spittoon, an arts organization and literary magazine based in Beijing with branches in Chengdu and Suzhou. He has overseen Spittoon’s expansion to include a monthly poetry, fiction, and slam poetry night in Beijing, plus a poetry-music collaboration called Spit-Tunes. [UPDATE: Byrne will not be able to attend]

Simon Shieh is an American poet whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in GristKartika ReviewCALAMITYAztec Literary Review, and others. Simon is director of InkBeat Arts, an organization dedicated to empowering young people through artistic expression, and the writer-in-residence at the International School of Beijing. He is also the editor-in-chief of Spittoon Literary Magazine and Beijing Youth Literary Review.

Kassy Lee is an American poet and author of the chapbooks The Period of Warring States (Another New Calligraphy, 2017) and zombia (dancing girl press, 2014). She is the co-founder of Transmigrant Flow, an arts collective that curates experimental events that foster racial inclusivity. She is also the Asia coordinator for the Visible Poetry Project, which brings together poets and filmmakers to produce short films in honor of National Poetry Month.

EVENT HOST Anthony Tao is a writer and editor in Beijing whose poetry has appeared in journals such as Prairie SchoonerKartika ReviewAsian ChaPoetry East West, etc. (see more at He is the founding editor of the news/society/culture website Beijing Cream and previously coordinated the international China Bookworm Literary Festival. He is also co-captain of Beijing’s premier Ultimate Frisbee team.

Whiskey Tasting at The Bookworm: A Q-and-A with Arthur Pottenger

Whiskey tasting

We’ve done gin, we’ve done Oregonian whiskey, we’ve done scotch, and now, on Sunday, June 12 at 6 pmThe Bookworm will do bourbon: come taste Benchmark, Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare, and 1792 Ridgemont Reserve for the low price of 160 RMB. (Space is limited, so reservation is required via (more…)

The Culture Trip recognizes The Bookworm as one of Beijing’s best “hidden bookshops”

The Culture Trip

The website Culture Trip had some nice things to say about us. Click the above picture for the full story.

The Bookworm in Beijing is not just a bookshop, but one of the city’s major cultural hubs. Local and foreign culture lovers that crave to be surrounded by stacks of books while enjoying a cup of  coffee need look no further. The Bookworm includes a café-restaurant with a rare selection of whiskeys, and hosts a number of events such as movie screenings, comedy nights, lectures, literary festivals, and various poetry and writing workshops. It  has been named one of “The Best Bookshops in the World” by Lonely Planet.

Announcing: Sazerac Company Whiskey Tasting (4 for 160 RMB!)


The good folks of Sazerac Company, which owns a number of North American Distilleries, are bringing a taste of Kentucky to The Bookworm, Beijing. On Sunday, June 12 at 6 pm on The Bookworm’s rooftop, Arthur Pottenger of DXCEL, which distributes Sazerac products in China, will guide us through a four-whiskey tasting for only 160 RMB. Space is limited, so reservation is required via (more…)

The Beijing Flea Market returns tomorrow to The Bookworm

Beijing Flea Market - May

MAY 14 from 11 am to 5 pm – FREE


The Bookworm rooftop turns into a treasure trove once again with more than 30 independent labels, handmade goods, vintage, craft foods and drink specials. Come and post a photo on WeChat of your favorite vendor in the first hour of the event and get a free drink courtesy of The Bookworm!!

In case of rain, we’ll move the vendors downstairs. (more…)

The Bookworm’s New Food Menu

Food 1

Did you hear? The Bookworm has an exciting new food menu, featuring delectable new items as sauteed garlic shrimp, smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel, Sichuan-style Cobb salad, cheese platter, and more.  (more…)

The Secret Garden is Now Open

The Secret Garden

The Bookworm’s “Secret Garden” rooftop is back! Come along and read or chat a little and enjoy a bite or a cold Slowboat draft beer. Speaking of — here’s a special spring promotion: buy any two Slowboat drafts, get one free! (more…)

The Bookworm Book Club: “The World of The End”

Touche Gafla - The World of the End

The Bookworm Book Club invites you to join its monthly discussion on Wednesday, May 18 when we talk about Ofir Touché Gafla’s The World of The End. First published in Hebrew in 2004, it won the 2005 Geffen Award for best fantasy/science fiction novel of the year and the 2006 Kugel Award for Hebrew literature. (more…)

The Bookworm Download Map

Building 4, Nan Sanlitun Road,

Chaoyang District, Beijing

100027, P.R China

Telephone Bar: (010) 6586 9507

Telephone Bookstore: (010) 6503 2050


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Weibo @北京老书虫Bookworm