Two Anthologies of Chinese Poetry

edited by Ming Di
New Cathay: Contemporary Chinese Poetry – Tupelo Press, 2013
New Poetry from China: 1917–2017 – Black Square Editions, 2019

New CathwayNew Poetry from China

 

New Cathay: Contemporary Chinese Poetry showcases the achievement of Chinese poetry in the last twenty years, a time of tremendous literary ferment in the country, and focuses on a diverse group of poets, including Duo Duo and Liao Yiwu, as well as lesser-known poets such as Zang Di, Xiao Kaiyu, Jiang Tao, and Lu Yue. The anthology also includes eight interviews with the poets. (Adapted from publisher’s description)

New Poetry from China: 1917–2017 consists of poems chosen by poet and translator Ming Di, and features one hundred Chinese poems by writers of many ethnicities such as Yi, Manchu, Tibetan, Mongolian, and others. According to Ming Di, the New Poetry Movement was begun in Beijing in 1917 by Hu Shi, with the goal of changing the literary landscape in China. Ming writes: “Apparently influenced by the Modernist art in New York City and Anglo-American free verse while he was a student at Columbia University, [Hu Shi] wrote a long free verse poem in 1916 as an argument during the fierce and lengthy debate he had with his fellow Chinese students regarding free verse vs. classical poetry, and this obscure poem because the first free verse in vernacular language in the history of Chinese literature. and we are still writing in his shadow today.” Nearly a dozen translators have contributed their work. (Adapted from publisher’s description)

Ming Di (pen name of Mindy Zhang) is a Chinese poet and translator who now lives in the United States. She co-founded Poetry East West journal. Some of her books in translation include River Merchant’s Wife, The Book of Cranes, and Empty Chairs—Poems by Liu Xia.

Coyote Traces: Aku Wuwu’s Poetic Sojourn in America

coyote-traces

Foreign Language Publications, The Ohio State University, 2016

Coyote Traces author Aku Wuwu, of the Yi ethnic minority in Southwest China, shares his real journey through both nations and the internconnection of cultures and languages.

In the words of author Aku Wuwu: “In these poems, I have tried to record the tangible and intangible heritages of Native Americans as I perceive them. In the process, I occassionally invoke my own Nuosu heritage. Imbibing the fresh air of other peoples’ cultures, I ponder over my personal spiritual life and the home of my soul. I wish to combine these shattered fragments into some serious ideas and thoughts. While writing these so-called cross-lingual and cross-cultural texts, I have attempted to explore the real nature of humanity, which has occassionally turned out to be a spiritual pilgramage back to my own native civilization.”

The collection of 80 poems, written in both Chinese and English translations, includes 9 full-color photo plates from the author’s journey. Paperback, 377 pages. (Publisher’s description)

Ruined City: A Novel (Chinese Literature Today Book Series)

41lj7pwnbhlby Jia Pingwa
University of Oklahoma Press, 2016

Originally published in 1993, Ruined City (Fei Du) was banned by China’s State Publishing Administration for its explicit sexual content. Since then, Jia Pingwa’s novel of contemporary China’s social and economic transformation has become a bestseller. The story of a famous contemporary writer’s sexual and legal tangles, the novel uses comedy and parody to comment on issues of intellectual seriousness, censorship, and artistic integrity in a changing Chinese society. (Adapted from publisher’s description)

Jia Pingwa (1952- ) stands with Mo Yan and Yu Hua as one of the most prominent and prolific novelists in contemporary Chinese literature. His novels, short stories and essays have a large readership in mainland China, as well as in Hong Kong and Taiwan. The French translation of Ruined City won the French Prix Femina in 1997.

Real Life in China at the Height of Empire: Revealed by the Ghosts of Ji Xiaolan

edited and translated by David E. Pollard9789629966010-500x730
The Chinese University Press, 2014

Toward the end of the eighteenth century, Ji Xiaolan, widely regarded as the most eminent scholar and foremost wit of his age, published five collections of anecdotes and discourses on the interaction between the mundane and spirit worlds, and purely earthly life stories and happenings. Settings range from the milieux of peasants, servants, and merchants to those of governors and ministers, and extend to the far reaches of the Qing empire. They include pieces comparing comedy and tragedy, cruelty and kindness, corruption and integrity, erudition and ignorance, credulity and skepticism. (adapted from publisher’s website)

David E. Pollard was Professor of Chinese in the University of London and later Professor of Translation in the Chinese University of Hong Kong. His books include The True Story of Lu Xun (2002), Zhou Zuoren: Selected Essays (2006), and The Chinese Essay (1999).

New Cathay: Contemporary Chinese Poetry

91lnqiY2oxLedited by Ming Di
Tupelo Press, 2013

The most up-to-date anthology of contemporary Chinese poetry, translated by American poets and edited by the executive editor of the bilingual literary journal Poetry East West. Showcasing the achievement of Chinese poetry in the last twenty years, a time of tremendous literary ferment, this collection focuses on a diversity of exciting poets from the mainland, highlighting Duo Duo (laureate of the 2010 Neustadt International Prize for Literature) and Liao Yiwu (recipient of 2012 Peace Prize of the German Book Trade organization) along with not yet well-known but brilliant poets such as Zang Di and Xiao Kaiyu and younger poets Jiang Tao and Lü Yue. The anthology includes interviews with the poets and a fascinating survey of their opinions on “Ten Favorite Chinese poets” and “Ten Best-Known Western poets in China.”

“With its carefully-selected range of poets and choice of contents, New Cathay is an up-to-date and exciting take on Chinese contemporary poetry. …it stands on its own as a literary anthology of Chinese contemporary poets, and allows us to review the diversity of Chinese contemporary poetry in terms of poetic style and subject.” — Jennifer Wong, The Asian Review of Books

Rhapsody in Black: Poems

51SYQfBrWaLby Jidi Majia; translated by Denis Mair
University of Oklahoma Press, 2014

An indigenous poet of the Nuosu (Yi) people of mountainous southwestern China, Jidi Majia is well known and celebrated among the Chinese. But his lyrical and worldly work, though widely published and honored, has not found its voice in English translation in the West. The poems in Rhapsody in Black, presented in Chinese and deftly translated by the gifted and respected Denis Mair, at long last introduce the English-speaking world to this remarkable Chinese writer. The poetry of Jidi Majia is deeply grounded in the myths and oral traditions of the Nuosu minority. It evokes times past but also speaks with eloquence of our global moment. Replete with cultural textures and local idiom, the poems provide an exquisite opening into the Nuosu world. In their ethnic richness, they also resonate with the voices of the indigenous and the dispossessed, from Native American and South American Indian poets to the African American and aboriginal Australian writers preserving and reshaping cultural identity. (Publisher’s description)

Jidi Majia was born in in Daliangshan, Sichuan, in 1961. He is the author of more than twenty collections of poetry. His work has been published in more than ten poetry anthologies, and has been translated into several languages. In 2006, he became the vice president of the China Poetry Association. Denis Mair has translated the work of numerous Chinese poets into English, including the volumes Reading the Times: Poems of Yan Zhi and Selected Poems by Mai Chen.

So We Lost Paradise: Selected Poems

So We Lost Paradise by Juan Cameronby Jaun Cameron
With translations by Cola Franzen, Steven F. White, and Roger Hickin
Cold Hub Press, 2013

Jaun Cameron was born in Valparaíso in 1947. For many years, his poems reflected the realities of living under a dictatorship and then in exile. Members of his own generation were just commencing their literary careers when the Pinochet dictatorship began. To circumvent draconian censorship laws that forbade any criticism of the regime, these writers resorted to a coded language. Not belonging to any official group, Cameron could not earn a living, and after some years of struggle, he emigrated to Sweden, where he remained for ten years. He is now back in Valparaíso with his wife, graphic artist Virginia Vizcaino. Apart from three chapbooks translated by Cola Franzen, So We Lost Paradise is the first selection of Cameron’s poetry to appear in English.

Cola Franzen is an American writer and translator who has published fifteen books of translations. In 2000 her translations of Jorge Guillen’s poetry, Horses in the Air and other poems, won the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award from the Academy of American Poets.

Steven F. White has translated and edited many volumes of Spanish poetry. His translation with Greg Simon of Lorca’s Poet in New York was widely acclaimed.

Roger Hickin is a New Zealand poet and visual artist, and editor of Cold Hub Press.

Wind Says

Wind Says- Bai Huaselected poems by Bai Hua
translated by Fiona Sze-Lorrain
Zephyr Press, The Chinese University Press of Hong Kong,
and Brookline Mass | Hong Kong

Bai Hua  is a central literary figure of the post-Obscure (or post-“Misty”) poetry movement during the 1980s. Born in 1956 in Chongqing, he studied English literature at Guangzhou Foreign Language Institute before graduating with a Master’s degree in Western Literary History from Sichuan University. His first collection of poems, Expression (1988), received immediate critical acclaim.  Bai Hua’s poetic output is considerably modest but selective; in the past thirty years he has written only about ninety poems. After a decade-long silence, he began writing poetry again in 2007. That same year, his work garnered the prestigious Rougang Poetry Award. A prolific writer of critical prose and hybrid texts, Bai Hua is also a recipient of the Anne Kao Poetry Prize. Currently living in Chengdu, Sichuan, he teaches at the Southwest Jiaotong University.

Fiona Sze-Lorrain’s debut collection of poetry, Water the Moon, was published in 2010. In addition to her books of translation of Chinese poets from Zephyr Press, she has translated several contemporary French and American authors, and co-edited the Manoa anthology, Sky Lanterns (University of Hawai’i Press, 2012). An editor at Cerise Press and Vif éditions, she lives in Paris. (adapted from inside cover)

 

The Lotus Singers: Short Stories from Contemporary South Asia

51pmboga-0l-_sx330_bo1204203200_Edited by Trevor Carolan
Cheng & Tsui Company, Inc., 2011.

The Lotus Singers: Short Stories from Contemporary South Asia is a collection of contemporary short stories by South Asia’s most renown authors.  With writers from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, this anthology gives readers a glimpse into the complexities of a region so diverse in both landscape and people through the exploration of themes such as social upheaval, gender inequality, economic and spiritual struggle, and challenges to cultural orthodoxy.

In his review, Alan Cheuse describes that while the writers featured in The Lotus Singers are little know in the US, this anthology shows “how a distant part of the world seems so foreign and yet so close to home.”   Ira Raja also writes that the collection seems at first “to confirm out expectations of the standard stereotypes associated with South Asia—poverty, caste, and the pressures of the traditional family—[it turns] those expectations around in bold, subtle, and intriguing ways, forcing readers to rethink everything they thought they knew about this place at the crossroads of the world” (quoted from the back cover).

Trevor Carolan was born in Yorkshire but grew up in New Westminster, British Columbia.  He received an interdisciplinary PH.D. at Bond University, Australia, and currently teaches English at University of the Fraser Valley near Vancouver.  His current works include Another Kind of Paradise: Short Stories from the New Asia-Pacific and Against The Shore: The Best of Pacific Rim Review of Books, which he co-edited with Richard Olafson.

Winter Sun

by Shi Zhi
translated by Jonathan Stalling
University of Oklahoma Press, 2012.

By presenting Shi Zhi’s poems in chronological order, Winter Sun allows readers to appreciate the evolution of his poetry from his earliest work to his most recent poems. (Publisher’s Description)

Born as Guo Lusheng in 1948, at the height of the Chinese Civil War, Shi Zhi joined the People’s Liberation Army at the age of twenty-three. Discharged early, he entered into a period of severe depression and spent much of the next three decades living in mental hospitals under harsh conditions. Taking the pen name of Shi Zhi, meaning “index finger,” to evoke the image of people pointing at his back, he continued to write poetry throughout these tumultuous years.