Asymptote’s 3rd Anniversary in Shanghai

To celebrate turning 3, Asymptote will make its first-ever appearance in Shanghai on 29 Mar (Saturday) at Anne-Cecile Noique ART! In collaboration with NYU Shanghai, we jointly present “New Voices from South Korea and China,” featuring Asymptote contributors Eleanor Goodman and Eun Joo Kim. Eleanor Goodman will be reading her translations of Chinese poets Li Li 李笠, Sun Wenbo 孙文波, and Wang Xiaoni 王小妮 while Eun Joo Kim will be reading her translations of the Korean poet Kim Ki-taek. The readings will be followed by a short Q&A. Come out and celebrate with us!

Click the image above for more information.

A Conversation With Eleanor Goodman at Beijing Cream

Poetry Night in Beijing - Eleanor Goodman featured imageBeijing Cream has posted a conversation with poet-translator Eleanor Goodman. Here’s a teaser:

Has translation made you more aware of how you write? Does thinking in two languages help your writing, and if so, in what ways?

EG: Translation has had an enormous influence on my own poetry. Chinese is structurally very different from English, and the norms of Chinese poetry are different too, so I’ve consciously (and surely unconsciously) imported some of that into my own work. In particular, I’ve gotten very interested in the lack of punctuation in a lot of contemporary Chinese poetry. Merwin does that too, but few other American poets write straight-up sentence-based poetry that relies on line break and emphasis instead of punctuation. It opens up a lot of new space, at least for me. It’s cliché now to say this, but I do think that writing, thinking, living in another language brings out a different personality that otherwise doesn’t have a chance to emerge. At least that’s true for me.

Click the image for the back-and-forth in full.

Three Sun Wenbo poems in new Asymptote

Sun Wenbo 孙文波, translated by Eleanor Goodman:

Translating Sun Wenbo’s poetry can seem deceptively straightforward. Because his language can be casual, and his topics ordinary (even base), a translator can produce a reasonable likeness of the original by skimming the surface, never plumbing the material beneath …

 

The Butterfly Effect

With twists and turns, I talk butterflies into women,
talk women into nymphs, talk nymphs into tigers,
talk tigers into bureaucrats, talk bureaucrats into wrathful gods.
Going a step further, what else can I say?
I’d have to ask you. It wouldn’t do not to ask.

For the full feature, click the image above.

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.

Ancestral Intelligence

In Ancestral Intelligence, Vera Schwarcz has added a forceful and fascinating work to her ever-growing list of publications depicting the cultural landscape of contemporary China. Here, she has created stunning “renditions” of poems by a mid-20th Century dissident poet, Chen Yinke 陳寅恪 (1890 – 1969), and has added a group of her own poems in harmony with Chen Yinke’s. Like his, her poems show a degradation of culture and humanity, in this case through comparison of classic and modern Chinese logographs. Early readers of the book have been universally enthusiastic. Sam Hamill writes, “This deeply engaging celebration of the life and work of Chen Yinke is masterful in its blending of biography, history, linguistics, and poetic adaptation. If the scholarship is vast, the presentation is elegantly swift and insightful. And the poetry (not only Chen Yinke’s but also the author’s own collection of ‘logograph poems’) speaks clearly, powerfully, and passionately. Ancestral Intelligence is a magnificent accomplishment.” Mai Mang (Yibing Huang) adds this: “Through Ancestral Intelligence, Vera Schwarcz proves that a poet and a historian are one and the same: both must work against the flow of time and revive buried voices. That’s why we continue to read and listen.” And this praise from Eleanor Goodman: “The language of these poems lives in two worlds, gleaming across boundaries, thanks to the skill and insight of poet and historian Vera Schwarcz. In the tragic yet inspiring story of Chen Yinke, Schwarcz finds her own powerful way of articulating the horrors of political oppression, and also the smaller but no less difficult personal afflictions of growing old, seeing loved ones suffer, and witnessing the degradation of one’s culture and language. Along with their illuminating exploration of the loss of traditional Chinese ideograms on the mainland, these poems are a kind of primer in empathy, as Schwarcz opens a window onto twentieth-century China and one brave man who, with his intellectual courage and creative output, stood in the way of a dubious ‘progress.’”

Click the image above for more information & sample poems.

PEN Translation Grants for Chinese Poetry

The PEN/Heim Translation Fund has announced its 2013 winners.

The Fund’s Advisory Board are: Susan Bernofsky, Barbara Epler, Richard Sieburth, Lauren Wein, Eliot Weinberger, Natasha Wimmer, Matvei Yankelevich, and chair Michael F. Moore.
Special congrats to:

Chloe Garcia Roberts for her translation of Escalating Derangements of My Contemporaries by the 9th century Classical Chinese poet Li Shangyin. Garcia Roberts’ translation of these spare, immediate poem-lists is lyrical and intuitive. (To be published by New Directions)

Not Poor: Indications

Thoroughbreds sighing.
Wax tears on candles.
Chestnut shells.
Lychee husks.
Stacks and heaps of money, rice.
Mother of pearl hairpins, abandoned.
Jargon of orioles, swallows.
Eddies of fallen blossoms.
Songs sung atop a tall building.
Books read aloud.
Sounds of grinding medicine, rolling tea.

Eleanor Goodman for Something Crosses My Mind, selected poems of Wang Xiaoni. Xiaoni’s sharp apprehensions of daily life have made her, since the 1970s, one of China’s most influential poets. Goodman’s pitch-perfect translation makes Xiaoni’s work available for the first time in book form in English. (To be published by Zephyr Press)

Typhoon, No. 1

The night of the typhoon, the sky was full, the world destroyed.

From west to east, herds of black cattle rolled on their heads
the wind’s hoofs beat at the windows
everything on the ground rose to the sky.

The people were packed into the night
the night was packed into an exploding drum.
The wildly arrogant air
presented rolling tanks from another world.
There was no sign of resistance
that’s just the way the extraordinary happens.

And also:

Jeremy Tiang for Nine Buildings by Chinese playwright Zou Jingzhi. These blunt, tamped-down translations of tales of youth during cultural revolution in Beijing address the grim cruelty of that time. Tiang’s language has a tang and matter-of-factness that effectively communicates the harshness of this text. (Available for publication)

New Cathay: Contemporary Chinese Poetry

New Cathay: Contemporary Chinese Poetry Edited by Ming Di

 

New Cathay: Contemporary Chinese Poetry

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.”

Featured poets: Duo Duo, Wang Xiaoni, Bai Hua, Zhang Shuguang, Sun Wenbo, Wang Jiaxin, Liao Yiwu, Song Lin, Xiao Kaiyu, Lü De’an, Feng Yan, Yang Xiaobin, Zang Di, Ya Shi, Mai Mang, Lan Lan, Jiang Tao, Jiang Hao, Lü Yue, Hu Xudong, Yi Lai, Jiang Li, Zheng Xiaoqiong, Qiu Qixuan, and Li Shumin.

With translations by Neil Aitken, Katie Farris, Ming Di, Christopher Lupke, Tony Barnstone, Afaa Weaver, Jonathan Stalling, Nick Admussen, Eleanor Goodman, Ao Wang, Dian Li, Kerry Shawn Keys, Jennifer Kronovet, Elizabeth Reitzell, and Cody Reese.

Contemporary Chinese Literature in Translation at AWP

Thursday, March 7, 4:30 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.:

R267. Contemporary Chinese Literature in Translation. (Lucas Klein, Xi Chuan, Jonathan Stalling, Eric Abrahamsen, Eleanor Goodman) Panelists will discuss the pleasures and frustrations they encounter translating contemporary Chinese literature, including issues of linguistic differences between Chinese and English, problems of copyright, the rise of web-based literature, and how to identify appropriate projects. Each panelist will read a short excerpt of recent work to illustrate. Xi Chuan will speak as a poet whose work has been translated into English and who has also translated literature into Chinese. (Room 305, Level 3)

Schedule of Xi Chuan’s US Reading Tour 2013

Thursday, March 7:

4:30 – 5:45: AWP Boston: R267. Contemporary Chinese Literature in Translation, with Eleanor Goodman and Jonathan Stalling (Room 305, Level 3)

7:30: Cha: An Asian Literary Journal reading at the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University, with Eleanor Goodman, W. F. Lantry, Kim Liao, Mai Mang (Yibing Huang), Tracy Slater, Marc Vincenz, and Nicholas YB Wong. Hosted by March issue guest editors Kaitlin Solimine and Marc Vincenz.

Friday, March 8:

12:00 – 1:30: Harvard University EALC Common Room (2 Divinity): Notes on the Mosquito – Poetry Reading and Talk by Xi Chuan, moderated by David Der-wei Wang and Lucas Klein

Monday, March 11:

7:00-8:00: Middlebury College Axinn Center 229: Poetry Reading by Xi Chuan

Tuesday, March 12:

4:30: Middlebury College Robert A. Jones ’59 House conference room: Translating Poetry: A roundtable discussion with Chinese poet Xi Chuan, Central Academy for Fine Arts (Beijing), and his translator, Assistant Professor Lucas Klein of City University of Hong Kong, and Middlebury College faculty.

Wednesday, March 13:

6:30 – 8:30: “Senses of Reality” 现实感 — A Talk from Chinese Writer & Poet Xi Chuan, with translator Lucas Klein, at NYU China House, 8 Washington Mews

Friday – Saturday, March 15 – 16:

2013 Princeton Poetry Festival