John McMillan was born in Glasgow and read Chinese at Wadham College, Oxford. He lives and works in London.
Seen through the poems, President Obama is emphatically not a blank screen. He has come to represent the possibility of American redemption, the possibility of reclaiming the moral high ground— and he is valued by people, and poets, as a way to elevate their own views by associating them with him.
Is China modern? The difficulty is in deciding the criteria. The beginning of the book dealt with a vague mix of secularism, individualism, self-awareness and equality, but Mitter is aware it’s unsatisfactory to equate modernity with ‘the West’.