Aku Wuwu

October 27, 2009

Yesterday I had the pleasure of hanging out with the rather famous Yi poet: Aku Wuwu.  He is the only Yi poet that writes in his native Nuosu dialect.  He is from Xiao Liangshan in Sichuan and teaches at the Southwest University for Nationalities in Chengdu.  I, along with some other students and professors, had lunch with him Mark Bender from Ohio State University.  Mark one of the leading scholars in the US on the Yi people, especially with regard to their literature and performances.  He is the sole translator of Aku’s works into English.

Aku is a very venerable man.  He has a steady job at the university so he is able to dedicate the rest of his life to preserving his culture.  One remarkable thing he told me is that there is only one publisher in the world that is able to publish in Yi script.  It is located in Chengdu.  They are the only ones who are set up for the type setting.  There are no Yi web sites  and beyond what this publisher has done there is very little published in Yi at all.

I’ve thought it would be very interesting to create an Yi character encoding and some fonts to make it possible for the language to be used in other formats such as online.  It would be a very good way to learn about character encoding, typesets, and fonts.  And it would add a huge boost to the proliferation of Yi literature and language.

Yesterday evening I attended a recitation of his Poetry and I stayed after for over an hour talking with Aku and Mark.  It was a very enlightening experience.

You can check out Aku’s blog here:  http://akuwuwu.blog.sohu.com/

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