Invitation To Kaohsiung
by Allen McGill
The envelope with Taiwanese postage arrived in August 2004 in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, where I was living at the time. I was somewhat curious, but assumed it was just the kind of ad I occasionally received from a Hong Kong tailor Iâ€™d once visited.
When I read the enclosed letter I was still uncertain, since it seemed to make no sense. It stated that I was being invited to something called The First World Poetry Conference in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, March 2005, with almost all expenses paid (a bit shy on the airfare), including hotels, meals, transfers, sightseeing, et al. I was also invited to read from my work if I wished. The theme was to be Land and Sea in Poetic Harmony.
Iâ€™d had a good deal of my fiction, non-fiction, and creative non-fiction published. Iâ€™d also written a novel, had two of my plays produced, and had written and published a great deal of poetry. But the letter didnâ€™t say which of my works had prompted this invitation, or where my potential hosts-to-be had seen it. A scam? Perhaps, but the invitation mentioned nothing about sending them money up front. I checked to see if I could glean anything from the internet that would hint I was being conned, but found nothing to further my suspicion. This was the â€œFirstâ€ conference, after all, and thereâ€™d not likely be much, if anything, posted seven months prior to the event.
Having worked in the travel field for most of my life, I consider myself to be pretty well traveled. I had visited some sixty countries by then, including many in Asia, but hadnâ€™t been to Taiwan and had never even heard of Kaohsiung. So, after some deliberation, I returned the application accepting the invitation, then awaited further developments. The response came quickly, via email this time.
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"Invitation To Kaohsiung" is roughly 4200 words.
Originally from NYC, Allen McGill lives, writes, acts and directs theatre in Mexico. His published fiction, non-fiction, poetry, plays, photos, etc., have won awards and appeared in The New York Times, The Writer, Newsday, Literary Potpourri, Poetry Midwest, QLRS, The Heronâ€™s Nest, Frogpond, Modern Haiku, World Haiku Review, and many others. He is a former member of PEN. He was an invited guest at the First World Poetry Festival in Taiwan 2005 and haibun editor for Simply Haiku and two of his plays have been professionally produced in Sacramento and L.A. His first book of poetry, "SUNSEEKERS", a selection of haiku and haibun by Allen McGill, is to be published this Fall by Golden Swamp Warbler Press. His website can be reached via tinyurl.com/….