Asian American Writers’ Workshop recommends Asian Literature

The Asian American Writers’ Workshop has collected recommendations from noted American writers and publishers for what to read of Asian literature. And unsurprisingly, Chinese poets and poetry are well-represented.

Barbara Epler, president of New Directions publishing, recommends Li Shangyin and Bei Dao, among others. She writes:

I am torn between favorites—Qian Zhongshu’s Fortress Besieged, Tanizaki’s The Maids, Li Shangyin’s Derangement of My Contemporaries, Takashi Hiraide’s The Guest Cat, Eka Kurniawan’s Beauty is a Wound, Sei Shonagon’s The Pillow Book—but finally want to choose Bei Dao’s new memoir, City Gate, Open Up. It’s a remarkably moving autobiography of this great poet, beautifully translated by Jeffrey Yang: a testament to stubbornness and endurance, City Gate, Open Up is a love letter to the Beijing of his childhood and to his family.

And Eliot Weinberger gives an even fuller syllabus, explaining, “‘Favorite Asian book’ is as impossible as ‘favorite European book’ or ‘favorite song.’ Sorry not to play by the rules of this game–and instead rattle off a long list of personal faves–but, after all, it’s 3000 years of writing in many languages and over a hundred years of translations that one would still want to read.” His list includes:

The many translations of classical Chinese poetry and philosophy by David Hinton (especially, for me: the poems of Tu Fu, T’ao Ch’ien, and Meng Chiao); Ezra Pound’s Cathay (now in a facsimile edition from New Directions) and his much-maligned masterpiece The Confucian Odes; A.C. Graham, Poems of the Late T’ang; Kenneth Rexroth & Ling Chung’s translation of the Sung Dynasty woman poet Li Ch’ing-chao; Gary Snyder, Cold Mountain Poems (Han Shan); Michèle Métail’s anthology of reversible poems, Wild Geese Returning (tr. Jody Gladding). (For more translations by Pound, Rexroth, Snyder, W.C. Williams, and Hinton, and essays by them on Chinese poetry: my The New Directions Anthology of Classical Chinese Poetry.)

As for modern and contemporary Chinese poetry: Bei Dao (various translators); Gu Cheng (tr. Joseph Allen); Xi Chuan (tr. Lucas Klein). Lastly, David Knechtges’s three-volume translation of the Wen xuan, a 6th-century anthology of the usually neglected, often ridiculed documentary poetry fu form (also Watson’s Chinese Rhyme-Prose)

It’s a lot to read!

Click on the image above for the full list.

Conversation with Howard Goldblatt at University of Minnesota

Conversation with Howard Goldblatt

Date: 11/27/2012
Time: 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM
Location: 140 Nolte Center for Continuing Education
Cost: Free
Description:
Join us for a conversation between acclaimed translator Howard Goldblatt  and Joseph Allen. Professor Goldblatt is best known as the translator of Mo Yan, the 2012 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Howard Goldblatt was a Research Professor of Chinese at the University of Notre Dame 2002-11 and is a translator of numerous works of contemporary Chinese (mainland China & Taiwan) fiction, including The Taste of Apples by Huang Chunming and The Execution of Mayor Yin by Chen Ruoxi. His translations of Mo Yan’s work include Life and Death are Wearing Me Out (2008), Big Breasts and Wide Hips (2005), and The Republic of Wine (2000). Joseph Allen is a Professor of Asian Languages and Literatures at the University of Minnesota.  His publications include Taipei: City of Displacements (University of Washington Press, 2012) and Sea of Dreams: The Selected Writings of Gu Cheng  (New Directions 2005).

Yang Mu wins Newman Prize for Chinese Literature

Newman logo

Taiwan-born and -raised poet Yang Mu 楊牧 has won the Newman Prize for Chinese Literature from the University of Oklahoma.

Yang was nominated by UC Davis professor Michelle Yeh, co-translator with Lawrence R. Smith of Yang’s collection No Trace of the Gardener (another volume, translated by Joseph Allen, was published as Forbidden Games & Video Poems: The Poetry of Lo Chʻing [羅青]). The other nominees were Hsia Yü 夏宇, Yang Lian 杨炼, Zhai Yongming 翟永明, and Ouyang Jianghe 欧阳江河, nominated by Jennifer Feeley (U. Iowa, USA), Michel Hockx (U. London SOAS, UK), Wolfgang Kubin (Bonn U., Germany), and Zhang Qinghua 张清华 (BNU, PRC), respectively.

Rare for contemporary Chinese poetry, all nominated poets have single-author collections available in English translation. Coincidentally, three of the nominees–Hsia, Zhai, and Ouyang–have had their only books in English published by Zephyr Press.

East Asia Panels at the MLA

In addition to the public discussion with Xi Chuan I mentioned yesterday, here’s a list of some other East Asia-related panels at the MLA:

The four panels sponsored by the East Asian Executive Committees (Pre-1900, Post-1900):

57. Adaptation and Refraction in East Asia to 1900 Thursday, 5 January, 1:45 – 3:00 p.m., Issaquah, Sheraton

275. Recognition as Critique Friday, 6 January, 12:00 noon – 1:15 p.m., Jefferson, Sheraton

515. Urban Culture: Literature and the City in Early Modern Asia Saturday, 7 January, 1:45 – 3:00 p.m., Greenwood, Sheraton

605. Modern East Asian Literature, World Literature Saturday, 7 January, 5:15 – 6:30 p.m., Cedar, Sheraton

Other panels of special interest:

119. Toward New Humanity: Theoretical Interventions into Literature in Modern Chinese Aesthetics Thursday, 5 January, 5:15 – 6:30 p.m., Greenwood, Sheraton

347. A Creative Conversation with the Chinese Poet Xi Chuan Friday, 6 January, 5:15 – 6:30 p.m., Grand B, Sheraton

396. Chinese Narrative, World Literature: The Appeal and the Peril of Being Worldly Saturday, 7 January, 8:30 – 9:45 a.m., Aspen, Sheraton

428. Technology and Chinese Literature and Language Saturday, 7 January, 10:15 – 11:30 a.m., Boren, Sheraton

552. China in the World: Literature, Geopolitics, and World Culture Saturday, 7 January, 3:30 – 4:45 p.m., Redwood, Sheraton

659. Chinese Biopolitics, Global Aesthetics Sunday, 8 January, 10:15 – 11:30 a.m., Greenwood, Sheraton

726. Practices of Creolization in Southeast Asian Sinophone Culture Sunday, 8 January, 1:45 – 3:00 p.m., Cedar, Sheraton

Thanks to Gu Cheng 顾城 translator Joseph Allen for compiling the list.