My interests took a more classical turn in 2020. Comedy is about being engaged and relevant, and it's hard to maintain that edge when you're not on stage in front of live audiences. I felt my time would be better spent making use of the downtime brushing up on Chinese poetry and reading more on the history of comedy in China.

More on the history of comedy later, but here are a few poems I recorded for fun.

"On Returning Home" by He Zhizhang (659-744)

Actually two poems in a series reflecting on a return to one's hometown after a lifetime away.

"Autumn Grieve" from Nine Changes, Verses of Chu

Verses of Chu is one of the earliest anthologies of classical Chinese poetry, and this particular piece is attributed to Song Yu (298–263 BC). I felt this lament on the passing of time was a good way to say "farewell, and good riddance" to the annus horribilis of 2020. From the way this video went viral on Chinese social media, it seems that sentiment was widely shared.

"Farewell to Cambridge" by Xu Zhimo (1897-1931)

Recorded for a "global virtual concert" of Chinese poetry reading during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dedicated to all the university students who graduated in 2020 under the cloud of COVID-19 (including my own daughter).

These links have all been tested -- if they no longer work please let us know.