Lost Wax: Translation Through the Void

TinFish Press announces the publication of Lost Wax: Translation Through the Void, by Jonathan Stalling.

The book presents Stalling’s sequence of poems about his wife Amy’s work as a sculptor. These poems are translated into Chinese and back into English by members of a “workshop” of eight fellow translators–Zhou Yu, Yao Benbiao, Nick Admussen, Jami Proctor-Xu, Jennifer Feeley, Eleanor Goodman, Lucas Klein, and Andrea Lingenfelter–then re-amalgamated by Stalling into a new final. Each poem is then presented in a) the original; b) the Chinese; c) the new English version. An additional workshop page illustrates choices made by translators on both sides of the English/Chinese divide.

The clay is the past
The wax inherits
As its own
The conditions, but not the only source
Of her arising

陶泥成为过去
石蜡也有了自己的
传承,
条件,不仅仅是她
出现 的唯一来源。

Clay becomes the past
Paraffin has its own
Inheritance
This condition is not her only
Source of coming into being

Click on the image for more, including ordering information.

Yao Hui’s “Gravedigger” translated by Eleanor Goodman

Eleanor Goodman’s translation of “Gravedigger” by Yao Hui 姚辉 is online at . Here’s how it begins:

The gravedigger turns up a howling white bone from deep in the loess –

he is panting   carefully chewing a mouthful of earth

it tastes sour – “Why is it howling?

Bone raised by wolves! What are you howling?”

Click the image for the full text.

Goodman’s Li Li in Two Lines

The newest online edition of Two Lines features three Li Li 李笠 poems as translated by Eleanor Goodman.

Here’s a bit from his “Thinking of My Father While Sick”:

Did you lie there like this too? In the dawn and spreading cancer cells
you turned over, peeled a tangerine. It was raw and raining
You saw the moon digging a tomb inside your body……
I turn over. Peel a tangerine. I wish my children would come to me
so I might hear the tender young sound of “Are you better?”
They don’t come.

For more, click on the image.

Goodman’s Wang Xiaoni on the Griffin Shortlist

Something Crosses My Mind by Wang Xiaoni, translated by Eleanor GoodmanThe shortlist for the International Griffin Poetry Prize–one of the most prestigious contemporary poetry prizes–has been announced, with Eleanor Goodman’s translation of Something Crosses My Mind 有什么在我心里一过 by Wang Xiaoni 王小妮, getting top billing.

The judges are Tim Bowling (Canada), Fanny Howe (USA) and Piotr Sommer (Poland). Their citation reads:

“What is so attractive about Wang Xiaoni’s poems as translated into English by Eleanor Goodman is her quiet, loving, meditative distance to the mostly anonymous and lonely heroes she clearly knows well. And her attitude to time, which she keeps dragging out of its anchored localities (and barely marked history) to extend and connect, or fuse with specific spaces that she also enlarges in size and scope. Moments prolong into a century or a life, imaginary beasts meld with real animals, description becomes an act of meditation. In a few lines, a village can take on the dimension of a vast landscape – and yet still remain that particular village. And while Xiaoni’s [sic] characters may not speak, they seem to have a real insight into our experience and lives. In a way nothing much happens in her magic lyricism: the wind blows, the ocean rises, people work or move from one place to another, or wait, or just leave some place, and they have souls (which behave like shadows); someone on a journey sees them, through the window, between one landscape and another, and it’s difficult to know why all this is so moving. Reading her, I found myself repeating Auden’s phrase “About suffering they were never wrong, / The old Masters.” Wang Xiaoni is a terrific contemporary poet gracefully extending the great classical Chinese tradition.”

Click the image above for the full list.

Chi Lingyun at Chinese Literature Today

The new issue of Chinese Literature Today is up on the digital shelves, with a feature of Chi Lingyun 池凌雲, translated by Eleanor Goodman and Shengqing Wu 吳盛青:

My path also secretly revolves.
The breeze blows over the water and the newly built towers,
lurks between the railings and inscribes its yellow mark
and spreads the sea lily’s seeds.

我的道路也在悄悄回转。
风吹着流水也吹着新建的塔楼,
潜流在栅栏之间打上金黄的印记
送出海百合的种子。

Click on the image for the full feature.

Tendencies in Contemporary Chinese Poetry at Harvard

Starting Anew as a Poet: Tendencies in Contemporary Chinese Poetry
重新做一个诗人:中国当代诗歌的倾向
Eleanor Goodman 顾爱玲 and Ao Wang 王敖

Date: Tuesday, November 11, 2014, 4:15 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Location: CGIS South, Room S250, 1730 Cambridge Street, Harvard University

Moderator and organizer: Ling Zhang 张玲, History Department, Boston College

Click on the faces for more information.

SCMP Reviews Something Crosses My Mind

Amy Russell at the South China Morning Post has reviewed Something Crosses My Mind 有什么在我心里一过, Eleanor Goodman’s translation of poems by Wang Xiaoni 王小妮. Here’s an excerpt:

The interaction between Wang’s characters and their environment is a crucial aspect of her work, vividly epitomised in Plowman, where “red … comes after punishment” and “after pain has been quietly survived”.

Wang’s gentle but weighty words are built from sharp observation, and deliver an honesty and rawness brilliantly captured in the translation by Harvard research associate Eleanor Goodman. As a northerner writing in the south, Wang has an outsider’s perspective, noticing details that locals might overlook.

Click on the image for the full review.

Asian Review of Books on Goodman’s Wang Xiaoni

The Asian Review of Books has published Jennifer Wong’s review of Something Crosses My Mind 有什么在我心里一过 by Wang Xiaoni 王小妮, translated by Eleanor Goodman. Here’s an excerpt:

Goodman’s strength as a translator lies in her ability to render the Chinese poetic language faithfully and with elegance, adhering to syntax and line breaks, while taking care that the translated verse does not alienate the reader. She has kept true to Wang’s immediate, unaffected voice, and maintained her uncanny, pithy word choice. She also refrains from the temptation to over-translate or gloss over the strangeness of poetic language. A fuller annotation of terms might however benefit those readers unfamiliar with Chinese rituals, regional life and dialects. The decision to make this book a bilingual edition makes it possible for sinologists and those who are able to access both languages to compare and understand how Chinese and English poetic language and form operate.

Click on the image above for the full review.

Eleanor Goodman’s Wang Xiaoni on Asymptote

Asymptote has published a suite of Wang Xiaoni 王小妮 poems translated by Eleanor Goodman, from the forthcoming Zephyr / Chinese University Press book Something Crosses My Mind. Here’s a taste:

Moonlight, No. 1

The moon unexpectedly casts its light.
A warm ocean island’s metal shell glints
and the earth shows its hidden treasures.

This armor that practices falling onto shoulders
gives off only a cold light, and no sound.
In silver fragments that float farther and farther
tonight I should at least find something to do.

Ferocity takes its chance to hide even deeper
an outstretched hand reaches the light
so soft that no matter the angle it never looks like a dagger.

5.2006, Shenzhen

Click on the image above for the full suite.

Moonlight, No. 1The moon unexpectedly casts its light.
A warm ocean island’s metal shell glints
and the earth shows its hidden treasures.

This armor that practices falling onto shoulders
gives off only a cold light, and no sound.
In silver fragments that float farther and farther
tonight I should at least find something to do.

Ferocity takes its chance to hide even deeper
an outstretched hand reaches the light
so soft that no matter the angle it never looks like a dagger.

5.2006, Shenzhen  – See more at: http://www.asymptotejournal.com/article.php?cat=Poetry&id=187#sthash.2efCWm1F.dpuf

Moonlight, No. 1The moon unexpectedly casts its light.
A warm ocean island’s metal shell glints
and the earth shows its hidden treasures.

This armor that practices falling onto shoulders
gives off only a cold light, and no sound.
In silver fragments that float farther and farther
tonight I should at least find something to do.

Ferocity takes its chance to hide even deeper
an outstretched hand reaches the light
so soft that no matter the angle it never looks like a dagger.

5.2006, Shenzhen  – See more at: http://www.asymptotejournal.com/article.php?cat=Poetry&id=187#sthash.2efCWm1F.dpuf

Moonlight, No. 1The moon unexpectedly casts its light.
A warm ocean island’s metal shell glints
and the earth shows its hidden treasures.

This armor that practices falling onto shoulders
gives off only a cold light, and no sound.
In silver fragments that float farther and farther
tonight I should at least find something to do.

Ferocity takes its chance to hide even deeper
an outstretched hand reaches the light
so soft that no matter the angle it never looks like a dagger.

5.2006, Shenzhen  – See more at: http://www.asymptotejournal.com/article.php?cat=Poetry&id=187#sthash.2efCWm1F.dpuf

Moonlight, No. 1The moon unexpectedly casts its light.
A warm ocean island’s metal shell glints
and the earth shows its hidden treasures.

This armor that practices falling onto shoulders
gives off only a cold light, and no sound.
In silver fragments that float farther and farther
tonight I should at least find something to do.

Ferocity takes its chance to hide even deeper
an outstretched hand reaches the light
so soft that no matter the angle it never looks like a dagger.

5.2006, Shenzhen  – See more at: http://www.asymptotejournal.com/article.php?cat=Poetry&id=187#sthash.2efCWm1F.dpuf