London-based poet Jennifer Wong’s review of City Gate, Open Up, by Bei Dao 北島 and translated by Jeffrey Yang, is now up at Asian Review of Books. “Born and raised in Beijing,” the review begins, “Bei Dao spent decades in exile in Europe because of his alleged involvement in the Tiananmen Massacre in 1989.” Aside from that mistake, though (Bei Dao spent most of the years between 1989 and 2007 in the US)–and the fact that the review doesn’t say a word about the translator or the translation–it’s a nice review.
Written with honesty, conscience and courage, this is a powerful account that merges personal memories with the collective history in the making of modern China, and inspires the reader to consider the many important social and political concerns in Chinese society that still remain today.
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.
The new, fifth anniversary edition of Cha is now available, with a Hong Kong Feature with work by Nicholas Wong, Kit Fan, Eddie Tay, Arthur Leung, Jason Hun Eng Lee, Belle Ling, and Jennifer Wong, and the “Misrepresentation” Flash Fiction winners, Tom Mangoine, Angelo B. Ancheta, and Hema S. Raman.
I’ll be guest-editing the “Ancient Asia Issue,” scheduled to launch September 2013–so get your submissions ready. See also their earlier publication of my translation of five sections from Xi Chuan’s “Thirty Historical Reflections” 鉴史三十章 from their China Issue.