Jerome Rothenberg will be releasing an expanded version of his foundational anthology Technicians of the Sacred, and it will include an excerpt from a new translation of Qu Yuan 屈原 by Wai-lim Yip 葉維廉. Rotheberg has published a preview on his blog at Jacket2, where he writes:
The Nine Songs by Qu Yuan (332–296 B.C.), excerpts from which appeared in the earlier editions of Technicians of the Sacred in Arthur Waley’s well-known & text-only translation, was in its origins a clear example of poetry as an act of “total performance.” Writes Wai-lim Yip as translator: “Recent scholarship, particularly the work of the poet-scholar Wen Yiduo, sees Qu Yuan’s The Nine Songs as a collection of songs of folk and oral nature used in ancient shamanistic ritualistic dramas performed near Dongting Lake in Hu’nan Province. The songs as they appear in the Chu Ci or The Songs of the South (consisting of one single, ambiguous voice and in the form of poems) are believed to have been greatly worked over by Qu Yuan. Wen Yiduo, himself a famous modern Chinese poet of the 1920s, in addition to his many essays tracing the poem to relevant origins, reconstructs The Nine Songs into a performable structure. The present translation is a slightly modified version based on his reconstruction.”
A section from the translation reads:
Riding a white turtle, chasing spotted fishes,
I will roam with you among the small islets
As swollen waters come tumbling down.
With crossed hands, I will go with you to the East,
To escort my beautiful one to the Southern Shore.
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