Obscure to a Western reader, “double corneas” and heavy earlobes are references to Xiang Yu and Liu Bei, two of the great heroic figures of early Chinese history. In fact, all of the described abnormalities are references to specific mythicized figures. They are characters whom historical and poetic narrations have always served, never satirized.
Canaan’s framework is to discuss awakening to his aesthetic in Chinese poetry in the context of his father’s passing away, and the fading of his poetic influence–as I said, poignant and touching–but he also discusses an Andrea Lingenfelter translation of Zhai Yongming 翟永明, and Eleanor Goodman‘s translations of Lei Pingyang 雷平阳 and Shen Wei 沈苇.
Despite the fact that Xi Chuan’s work (in my translation) is joined by that of five other poets–Lei Pingyang 雷平阳, Sun Lei 孙磊, Hou Ma 侯马, Yu Xiang 宇向, and Wong Leung Wo 王良和–the discussion says not a word about Chinese poetry. Still, it’s a worthwhile and informative podcast nonetheless.
Path Light, the new English-language journal produced by Paper Republic and People’s Literature 人民文学, is beginning to have a web presence. Sign up here for information & notification on news and new issues. And as an added bonus, here’s the table of contents of the first issue, including four Xi Chuan pieces in my translation:
Feature: 8th Mao Dun Literature Prize
You Are on the Highland
Holy Heaven’s Gate
A Word is Worth Ten Thousand Words
Fiction / Non-Fiction
‘The Sugar Blower’
‘A Rare Steed for the Martial Emperor’ and ‘Raising Whales’
‘The Winter of 2009’ and ‘The Road to Weeping Spring’
Prayer-Poem on Mt. Jinuo, White Herons, Keeping a Cat, Going Home for a Funeral, The Myna Bird Asks a Question, Collectivist Insect Calls, and Abandoned City
Bloodsucking Rapture, Subway, Li Hong’s Kiss and A Wolf? In Sheep’s Clothing?
Sunlight Shines Where It’s Needed, My House, They, A Gust of Wind, Low Key, It Goes Without Saying, Holy Front and Street
Wong Leung Wo
At Midnight, I See Your Shoes in the Bathroom, Father, This is the Last Day, The Story of Santa and I Thought We Wouldn’t Meet Again
The Body and History, Ill Fortune H 00325, Looking at the Mural in the Ruicheng Temple of Eternal Joy and Dragon
Editorial Director Qiu Huadong (邱华栋) revealed some of the first issue’s contents:
Excerpts from the novels that won the 2011 Maodun Literary Prize, plus interviews with their authors. He did not specify which novels would be excerpted, but the five winners were: On the Plateau, Zhang Wei (你在高原 , 张炜著) ; Skywalker, Liu Xinglong (天行者, 刘醒龙著); Massage, Bi Feiyu (推拿, 毕飞宇著); Frogs, Mo Yan (蛙, 莫言著) ; and One Sentence Worth Thousands, Liu Zhenyun ( 一句顶一万句, 刘震云著) See Rewarding Writer-Officials? for insight into the controversy surrounding this year’s Maodun Prize.
Short stories by authors born in the 1970s and 1980s, including Jiang Yitan (蒋一谈), Qi Ge (七格) and Di’an (笛安).
Poems by Xi Chuan (西川), Lei Pingyang (雷平阳) and others
Short stories by other writers including Li Er (李洱)
Introductions to new books such as Ge Fei’s Spring in Jiangnan (春尽江南, 格非著), Wang Anyi’s Tiānxiāng (天香, 王安忆著), Jia Pingwa’s Old Kiln (古炉, 贾平凹著), and Fang Fang’s Wuchang City (武昌城, 方方著)
The Xi Chuan pieces they’ve published are “Looking at the Mural in the Ruicheng Temple of Eternal Joy” 观芮城永乐宫壁画, “Ill Fortune H 00325″ 厄运 H 00325, “Dragon” 龙, and “The Body and History” 体相与历史.