A Closer Look at Yunte Huang’s SHI

Gina Elia: A Closer Look at Yunte Huang’s SHI

Huang’s book of translations, SHI: A Radical Reading of Chinese Poetry, clearly identifies itself as, in part, a response to the Fenollosa/Pound argument concerning Chinese poetry and its proper translation. However, the primary purpose of the work, as Huang states in his introduction, is to deal “with…the often-invisible face of translation…brought to the foreground of poetic texture and the traces of translation’s needle work…exposed to the reader’s view.” The translations reveal the difficulties and problematics of ripping a literary work from its cultural and linguistic context, a process that is too often smoothed over in editions that aim to hide the invisible, yet irrevocable changes committed by translation’s hand.