Taiwan poet Yu Hsi was honored by the Czech Republic government Sept. 16 at the 36th World Congress of Poets in Prague for his commitment to fostering cultural exchanges between his homeland and the Eastern European country.


Yu Hsi was presented with a medal featuring a portrait of the late Czech poet Jaroslav Seifert, winner of the 1984 Nobel Prize in Literature, on one side and the words “Prague 2016 City of Literature” on the other. The Czech capital was designated a UNESCO Creative City of Literature in 2014 for its rich literary environment and traditions.


At the six-day congress in the Czech capital, the 65-year-old poet also signed memorandums of understanding on facilitating cultural exchanges between the Crane Summit 21st Century International Forum, which he established in 2004, and three Czech Republic-based organizations, namely the Forum 2000 Foundation, Franz Kafka Society and Czech Centre of International PEN Club.


 Yu Hsi, a devout Buddhist and abbot at Henan Temple in eastern Taiwan’s Hualien County, has for decades helped forge connections between local writers and their counterparts overseas. He served as president and organizer of the World Congress of Poets when it was held in Taiwan last year.


The abbot has built friendships with many leaders as well as members of artistic and cultural circles around the world,” said the Bounty Guanyin Cultural Foundation, an affiliate organization of the Buddhist temple. “He started promoting exchanges with the Czech Republic after meeting with former President Vaclav Havel in Prague in 2009.”


Best known by his pen name Yu Hsi, the poet was born Hung Ching-yu and became a monk in 2013. He has earned awards at home and abroad for his prose, including the Franz Kafka Medal for Literature in 2011 from the European Franz Kafka Circle Prague, as well as several prizes at Taiwan’s Golden Melody Awards and Golden Tripod Awards, which honor music and publishing works, respectively. (OC-E)



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Publication Date: September 20, 2016

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