In this Cha Reading Series event, contributors Eleanor Goodman and Lucas Klein will discuss poetry, translation, and the writing of China—alongside readings from their recent and forthcoming books, including Goodman’s Nine Dragon Island (Enclave/Zephyr, 2016) and Iron Moon: Chinese Worker Poetry (White Pine, 2017), and Klein’s October Dedications: The Selected Poetry of Mang Ke (Zephyr, 2018) and translations of Li Shangyin (NYRB, 2018). Moderated by Cha co-editor Tammy Ho Lai-Ming.
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Writing at World Literature Today, Tammy Ho Lai-ming 何麗明 talks about the “Contemporary Faces” of “The Merchant River’s Wife: A Letter,” Ezra Pound’s translation of Changgan Xing 長干行 by Tang poet Li Bai 李白 (whom he called Rihaku) in Cathay (1915). Specifically, she focuses on contemporary extensions, responses, and rewritings: Luca L.’s “Letter to Ru Yi, the River-Merchant’s Wife”; “The Expat’s Partner: An Email,” by Alistair Noon; and “Ghost Husband,” by Renée M. Schell. Here’s how she ends her piece:
In his introduction to Derrida’s ideas of deconstruction and photography, the painter Gerhard Richter suggests that translation means that “something is presented, interpreted, explained, and even understood in terms of something else.” Seen in this way, the three contemporary poems discussed can be called transgender, transtemporal, and transcultural translations of Li Bai’s poem, read through the prism of Pound’s rendering.
The Asian American Writers’ Workshop has published four poems on the Occupy Central Umbrella Movement by Hongkong poets Tang Siu Wa, Chung Kwok Keung, Dorothy Tse, and Liu Waitong, as translated by Nicolette Wong, Tammy Ho Lai-Ming, and Amy K. Bell. Edited by Louise Law and introduced by Henry Wei Leung, here’s an excerpt (from Chung Kwok Keung, translated by Ho):
Let’s put silence to a coma in the dark of night
Let’s allow our voice, clear and loud, to be heard at dawn
Occupy, so that it can be put back in place
Sit down, and then stand up, one by one
When our names are called,
Each and every one of us, say: Here.
Cha is the first Hong Kong-based online literary journal, and it has published many local and expat writers and artists, introducing them to the world’s literary scene. We also act as a general connecting point between writers in the West and writers in Asia, although I must say this distinction, ‘writers in the West and writers in Asia,’ is not in fact that useful and may soon be obsolete, as people, ideas, customs and habits circulate all over the world in an ever more efficient fashion. Of course, sometimes writers in the West may find themselves becoming writers in Asia, and vice versa, either through psychological affiliations or physical journeys.
Over the last six years, we have introduced a number of features that make the journal special. For example, each issue is guest edited by one or two former contributors, who read the submissions with Jeff Zroback (my co-editor) and I, and who help us make the final editorial decisions. This gives each issue a different flavor and tone and fosters a sense of community: the fact that past contributors are happy to return to work with us as guest editors tells us that they like the journal enough to want to continue a relationship with it. This is very heartening. We also hold contests (poetry, flash fiction, critiques) whenever a patron is interested in funding one. We are also in a very good position to publish special issues such as “The China Issue” (July 2011) and “The Ancient Asia Issue” (December 2013), which I hope are useful resources for those who are particularly interested in Asian-themed literature written in or translated into English.
Cha: An Asian Literary Journalis now accepting submissions for “The Ancient Asia Issue,” an edition of the journal devoted exclusively to work from and about Asia before the mid-nineteenth century.
From the beginning of the twentieth century, ancient Asia has contributed to the rebirth and re-imaginations of modern literatures, not only in English (from Ezra Pound to Gary Snyder) but in other western languages as well (Victor Segalen, Octavio Paz, Bertolt Brecht…). “The Ancient Asia Issue” of Cha seeks to revivify this tradition, featuring translations and original works of poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, and visual art from and about Ancient Asia, to be published in September 2013. If you have something interesting, opinionated, or fresh to say about the Asian past, we would like to hear from you. Please note that we can only accept submissions in English.
We are pleased to announce that Cha former contributor, translator and scholar Lucas Klein will be joining Cha as guest editor for the issue and read the submissions with co-editors Tammy Ho and Jeff Zroback.
The Reviews section will be devoted exclusively to books related to the theme of the issue. If you have a recent book that you think would be right for review in “The Ancient Asia Issue”, we encourage you to contact our Reviews Editor Eddie Tay at email@example.com. Books should be sent to Eddie before the end of May 2013.
If you would like to have work considered for “The Ancient Asia Issue”, please submit by email to firstname.lastname@example.org by 20th June, 2013. Please include “The Ancient Asia Issue” in the subject line of the email. Submissions to the issue should conform to our guidelines.