October Dedications by Mang Ke

Announcing October Dedications, the selected poems of Mang Ke 芒克, edited and translated by Lucas Klein, with further translations by Huang Yibing and Jonathan Stalling—part of the Jintian series jointly published by Zephyr and The Chinese University Press.

Mang Ke (b. 1950, penname of Jiang Shiwei 姜世伟) began writing poetry as a sent-down youth in Baiyangdian, rural Hebei province, during the Cultural Revolution. As co-founder of the PRC’s first unofficial literary journal Jintian (Today) in 1978, he is one of the progenitors of what would later be called Obscure or “Misty” Poetry, with spare, impressionistic poems that were among the first to break free of the imposed discourse of Maoism towards an image-based literary style that left space for both expression and interpretation. He currently makes his living as an abstract painter and lives in Songzhuang, an artists’ colony on the outskirts of Beijing.

“Mang Ke’s poems are radical in their immediacy, exploring the vexed space between public world and private experience, honing in on the gap between with sometimes uncanny directness … I don’t think I have ever read anything quite like it.”
—Rae Armantrout

“Mang Ke is a genius amongst contemporary Chinese poets. In a dark age, his early lyric poems were unparalleled–translucent, profound, and enchanting.”
—Bei Dao

For further information, including how to order, see the pages at Chinese University Press or Zephyr.

Klein’s Ouyang Jianghe in Asymptote

The new issue of Asymptote is now live, featuring sections of my translation of “Taj Mahal Tears” 泰姬陵之泪 by Ouyang Jianghe 欧阳江河.

Tears about to fly. Do they have eagle wings
or take a Boeing 767, taking off on
an economic miracle? Three thousand km of old tears, from Beijing
to New Delhi skies
just like that. After time flies, can the double exposed
red and white of our minds’ oriental archaeologies
match the supersonic, withstand
the miracle’s
sudden turbulence? Can we borrow eagle eyes to watch the sunset
dissolve inside a jellyfish like mica?

泪水就要飞起来。是给它鹰的翅膀呢,
还是让它搭乘波音767,和经济奇迹
一道起飞?三千公里旧泪,就这么从北京
             登上了
新德里的天空。时间起飞之后,我们头脑里
红白两个东方的考古学重影,
能否跟得上超音速,能否经受得起
             神迹的
突然抖动?我们能否借鹰的目力,看着落日
以云母的样子溶解在一朵水母里?

This publication also includes my translator’s note:

The poem is, of course, about the tears that fill relationships between men and women, but it is also about the relationship between god or gods and man as well as the relationship between India and China—not to mention both countries’ relationships to their histories. Parts of the poem take place in, and take advantage of, the vocabulary of fungibility and modernity; other parts excavate an archaeology of historical lexicons, including Buddhist terminology and a broad scope of literary and cultural allusion. As a translator, I had in mind the English of a handful of poets known as practitioners of ethnopoetics, investigating the deep recesses of the self at the same time as the wide resources of the planet. As Ouyang writes, “the mirror image glances back.”

Click on the image for the full excerpt

Moore & Moore’s Chinese Literature Podcast on forthcoming Mang Ke

Chinese Literature PodcastI posted this some days ago, but in case you’d rather not listen to it on iTunes…

Rob and Lee Moore (no relation) of the Chinese Literature Podcast talked to me about my forthcoming translation of October Dedications by Mang Ke 芒克 (Zephyr).

They write:

Back in action after a brief hiatus, Lee and Rob interview translator and professor Lucas Klein, whose most recent work, October Dedications, is a book of translations of the poet Mang Ke. Prof. Klein is best-known for his work with Xi Chuan, but gives a nice guided tour of historical trends in poetry translation, the differences between classical and modern poetry, and why exactly it’s nice to know the person you’re translating.

Click the image to link to the podcast page.

Moore & Moore’s Chinese Literature Podcast on forthcoming Mang Ke

Chinese Literature Podcast  Rob and Lee Moore (no relation) of the Chinese Literature Podcast talked to me about my forthcoming translation of October Dedications by Mang Ke 芒克 (Zephyr).
 It was a wide-ranging conversation, but Moore & Moore managed to edit down to something listenable.
 Click the image to link to the podcast page. iTunes required for listening.

Call for abstracts: “The Moving Target: Translation and Chinese Poetry”

Call for abstracts | The Moving Target: Translation and Chinese Poetry

On 1-2 June 2018, Maghiel van Crevel and Lucas Klein will convene a workshop entitled “The Moving Target: Translation and Chinese Poetry” at Leiden University, toward the publication of an edited volume in 2019.

Participants will arrive on 31 May and depart on 3 June. Hotel accommodation and all meals will be funded by the Leiden University Institute for Area Studies (LIAS), the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) and other local funding bodies.

The workshop aims to conjoin critical engagement with the notion of translation with deep linguistic, literary and cultural knowledge on poetry in Chinese: written in Chinese, translated into Chinese, or translated from Chinese into other languages.

We take translation to encompass everything from the reproduction in a target language of a text in a source language to cultural translation in its various interpretations. Examples of the latter include Chinese-foreign interactions of poetry’s texts, contexts and metatexts, but also interactions “within Chinese,” for instance between classical and modern cultural forms or between various identifications and persuasions in poetry.

In addition to the generic significance of studying translation-and-poetry, contributors will be encouraged to draw on issues that are specific to cultural China. For example: the proverbial and debatable untranslatability of classical Chinese poetry, modern Chinese poetry’s “foreign origins” and the conspicuous presence of foreign poetries in Chinese-language poetic discourse, and the power of poetry as a meme in Chinese cultural tradition, including social and political dimensions of this tradition.

We welcome proposals for broad-strokes essays as well as case studies from a variety of perspectives: textual and contextual, critical and historical, theoretical and methodological, etc. Abstracts of about 300 words should be sent to m.van.crevel @ hum.leidenuniv.nl and lklein @ hku.hk.

Deadline for abstracts: 18 December 2017. The selection of abstracts will be completed and invitations will go out early in January 2018. Full draft papers of c. 8000 words must reach the conveners by 23 April. All papers will be made available to all participants by 1 May. The workshop’s design will maximize time for discussion and feedback. Revised papers will be expected by 15 October.

Please consider submitting an abstract, forward this information to those you think might be interested and let us know if you need any additional information.

Sincerely,

Maghiel and Lucas

Announcing the Ancient Asia issue of Cha

Announcing the Ancient Asia Issue of Cha (December 2013), featuring new translations of Chinese poetry by Xi Chuan, Tao Yuanming 陶淵明, Du Fu 杜甫, He Qifang 何其芳, Xiao Kaiyu 肖开愚, Liu Yong 柳永, the Shijing 詩經, Laozi 老子, Du Mu 杜牧, and Li Shangyin 李商隱, and new work by Eliot Weinberger, Matthew Turner, Eleanor Goodman, Sharmistha Mohanty, and Jonathan Stalling. The full list of contributors:

Translation: Lucas Klein, A.K. Ramanjuan, Reid Mitchell, George Life, Canaan Morse, Michael Gray, Christopher Lupke, Dulal Al Monsur, Nicholas Francis, Michael Farman, Michael O’Hara, Eleanor Goodman, Chloe Garcia Roberts

Poetry: Eliot Weinberger, Matthew Turner, W.F. Lantry, Aditi Rao, Stuart Christie, Luca L., Xiao Pinpin, Kate Rogers, Pey Pey Oh, DeWitt Clinton, Elizabeth Schultz, Stephanie V Sears, Joshua Burns, James Shea, Sean Prentiss, Steven Schroeder, Marjorie Evasco, Arjun Rajendran, Pui Ying Wong, Julia Gordon-Bramer, June Nandy, Janice Ko Luo, Stuart Greenhouse, Barbara Boches, Cathy Bryant, Justin Hill, Eleanor Goodman

Fiction: John Givens,  Xie Shi Min, Sharmistha Mohanty, Zhou Tingfeng, Khanh Ha

Articles: Jonathan Stalling, Michael Tsang

Creative non-fiction: Pavle Radonic

Photography & art: Alvin Pang (cover artist), Adam Aitken

Click the image above to access the full issue.

David Tod Roy on The Plum in the Golden Vase

Illustration from The Plum in the Golden Vase

David Tod Roy on his recently completed translation of The Plum in the Golden Vase or, Chin P’ing Mei 金瓶梅:

I came to believe that in order to study the Chin P’ing Mei accurately, I would need to have some means of control over the text, so I spent about two years making a card index of every line of poetry, parallel prose, and proverbial sayings in the entire novel. I ended up with tens of thousands of file cards. People said, “Why didn’t you hire a graduate student to do that?” But I knew that wouldn’t have worked. With this information at my fingertips, I could read through earlier Chinese drama and poetry, and whenever I saw something that seemed familiar, I could check the index cards within seconds to see whether or not that phrase occurred in the Chin P’ing Mei. That’s how I wrote the notes of my translation. Without having compiled this index, I never could have done it.
I tried to read every extant work of Chinese fiction and drama in circulation before the Chin P’ing Mei was published. That’s a huge project, but I kept discovering more and more sources.

Click the image above for his complete comments.

Cerise Press–The Final Issue

Cerise Press Vol. 5 Issue 13 CoverThe new issue of Cerise Press is here, with Chinese poetry by Wei An 苇岸 (1960 – 1999) translated by Tom Moran and Yuan dynasty poets Guan Hanqing 關漢卿 and Zhong Sicheng 鍾嗣成 translated by David Lunde.

Also see my feature “Xi Chuan: Poetry of the Anti-lyric” from an earlier issue, with translations of “Power Outage” 停电, “Re-reading Borges’s Poetry” 重读博尔赫斯诗歌, and “Three Chapters on Dusk” 黄昏三章. (And my earlier co-translations of poems by Bei Dao 北岛 with Clayton Eshleman).

Note that this will be the last issue of Cerise Press. The journal will remain archived at cerisepress.com as a resource for readers and educators.

5th Anniversary Cha

The new, fifth anniversary edition of Cha is now available, with a Hong Kong Feature with work by Nicholas Wong, Kit Fan, Eddie Tay, Arthur Leung, Jason Hun Eng Lee, Belle Ling, and Jennifer Wong, and the “Misrepresentation” Flash Fiction winners, Tom Mangoine, Angelo B. Ancheta, and Hema S. Raman.

I’ll be guest-editing the “Ancient Asia Issue,” scheduled to launch September 2013–so get your submissions ready. See also their earlier publication of my translation of five sections from Xi Chuan’s “Thirty Historical Reflections” 鉴史三十章 from their China Issue.