Tsering Wangchuk is an Assistant Professor and Richard C. Blum Chair in Himalayan Studies in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of San Francisco. He is the author of The Uttaratantra in the Land of Snows: Tibetan Thinkers Debate the Centrality of the Buddha-Nature Treatise (SUNY Press).
Between October 2015 and March 2016, over ninety-thousand Tibetans in exile prepared to elect either Lobsang Sangay or Penpa Tsering as the new political leader of the Tibetan government in exile. In a negative campaign style, which was unprecedented in the history of the Tibetan democracy in exile, the two candidates were pitted against each other. Many Tibetans now reminisce with some remorse about how this election campaign stirred up tensions and animosity in the exile community. The campaign offered a germane platform to many Tibetan poets all over the world to express their opinions about their potential future leaders in the Tibetan language. One forum where they disseminated their poems about the two candidates was an exile-based Tibetan-language website devoted to poetry, news, essays, and songs. In this piece, I offer an English translation of four of these poems and discuss the issues and themes that concerned the poets as well as the Tibetan electorate.
The author would like to express his gratitude to the external reviewers for their helpful comments on this article.
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Wangchuk, Tsering. 2018. Verses of Praise and Denigration: Finding Poetic Creativity in the Tibetan Election in Exile. HIMALAYA 38(1).
Available at: https://digitalcommons.macalester.edu/himalaya/vol38/iss1/20