Your Impossible Voice has published my “Letter from Hong Kong,” about the International Poetry Nights.
Reviewing exiled Chinese poet Bei Dao’s first full-length collection The August Sleepwalker in English in 1990, a professor quipped, “These could just as easily be translations from a Slovak or an Estonian or a Philippine poet. It could even be a kind of American poetry….”
From a certain perspective—say, that of the seventeenth century—the reviewer was right … But from the perspective of poetry today, which is to say, from the perspective of people who habitually, consciously, and conscientiously read contemporary poetry around the world, do all cultures and languages and poetries blend together?
We have not had Slovak or Estonian poets, but Albanian poet Luljeta Lleshanaku, from the 2009 festival, and Russian Arkadii Dragomoshchenko and Slovene Tomaž Šalamun, from 2011, may serve as sufficient examples, as will 2013 Filipina participant Conchitina Cruz and American Jeffrey Yang.
And then I translate Chen Maiping’s 陳邁平 Chinese translation of Aase Berg’s Swedish poetry into English, to compare against the English by Johannes Göransson.
Click on the image above for the whole piece.
Over at Montevidayo, Johannes Göransson has posted “Exploded Tranströmer: On Ye Mimi and Translation.” A hyperopticon of connections, it links Taiwanese poet Ye Mimi 葉覓覓 to Nobel lit. prizewinner Tomas Tranströmer via what Swedish poet Aase Berg’s reading:
A few months ago, after she came back from the Hong Kong poetry festival, Aase Berg wrote to me that she had come across an amazing poet: Ye Mimi. (Apparently YM appeared with a very impressive guitar player as well.)
That is funny because when I first read Ye Mimi what came to my mind was a somewhat controversial article Aase wrote in Expressen after Tomas Tranströmer won the Nobel Prize the other year … Ye Mimi’s poems are wonderful in that way: as “banality and surprising intelligence in unexpected union.” In fact they read a little like Tranströmer poems in which the metaphors flip out, go off in tangents. And a Tranströmer poem in which the tenor of the metaphor is not privileged – not over the vehicle, not over the “banal” everyday stuff (pink hoodies, telephone booths etc).
From there, he indicates a critique of Translation Studies as it’s come to be known under the direction of Lawrence Venuti, which he says “quarantines the work in translation: we never have the work in translation.”
Click the image above to read the post in full.
Opening Ceremony and Poetry Recitation, Sunday 24 November, 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. HKICC
Tim Lilburn (Canada), Ye Mimi 葉覓覓 (Taiwan), Conchitina Cruz (The Philippines)
Performances: Filipino Band with Dodo Valiente
7:00 – 8:30 p.m. HKICC
Menna Elfyn (Wales), Natalia Chan 洛楓 (Hong Kong), Olvido García Valdés (Spain)
Performances: Flamenco by Ingrid Sera-Gillet
Opening Ceremony and Poetry Recitation, Saturday 23 November, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. HKICC
Dunya Mikhail (Iraq), Lee Seong-bok (South Korea), Un Sio San 袁紹珊 (Macau), Peter Minter (Australia)
Performances: Trumpet Duet by Ken Cheng 鄭永健 and Paul Chiu 趙之恆
Opening Ceremony and Poetry Recitation, Friday, 22 November, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. HKICC
Raúl Zurita (Chile), Jeffrey Yang (USA), Aase Berg (Sweden), Han Dong 韓東 (China)
Performances: Violin Solo by Terry Leung 梁家輝
Opening Ceremony and Poetry Recitation, Thursday 21 November, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. HKICC
Adonis (Syria), Tomasz Różycki (Poland), Zeyar Lynn (Myanmar), Lan Lan 藍藍 (China)
Performances: Xiao and Xun Recital by Tan Po Shek (洞蕭、塤演奏 – 譚寶碩)
Languages Great and Small: Evolutions and Revolutions in Poetry
Moderator: Prof. Leo Ou-fan Lee
Fri, 22 November 4:00 – 5:30 p.m.
Venue: Chinese University of Hong Kong
Adonis (Syria), Dunya Mikhail (Iraq), Olvido García Valdés
(Spain), Lee Seong-bok (South Korea), Han Dong 韓東 (China), Natalia Chan 洛楓 (Hong Kong)
Moderator: Prof. Lucas Klein
Thurs, 21 November 3:00 – 4:30 p.m.
Venue: Hong Kong University of Science & Technology
Aase Berg (Sweden), Conchitina Cruz (The Philippines), Jeffrey Yang (USA), Tomasz Różycki (Poland), Un Sio San 袁紹珊 (Macau), Ye Mimi 葉覓覓 (Taiwan)