The “Golden Wreath” Award, Macedonia’s most prestigious literary prize, will be presented to Bei Dao 北島 at the 2015 annual Struga Poetry Evenings. He is the 50th winner of this international award for poetry. Previous winners include Mahmoud Darwish, W. H. Auden, Allen Ginsberg, Pablo Neruda, Eugenio Montale, Adonis, Yehuda Amichai, Seamus Heaney, Tomas Tranströmer, and Blaže Koneski.
Over at Montevidayo, Johannes Göransson has posted “Exploded Tranströmer: On Ye Mimi and Translation.” A hyperopticon of connections, it links Taiwanese poet Ye Mimi 葉覓覓 to Nobel lit. prizewinner Tomas Tranströmer via what Swedish poet Aase Berg’s reading:
A few months ago, after she came back from the Hong Kong poetry festival, Aase Berg wrote to me that she had come across an amazing poet: Ye Mimi. (Apparently YM appeared with a very impressive guitar player as well.)
That is funny because when I first read Ye Mimi what came to my mind was a somewhat controversial article Aase wrote in Expressen after Tomas Tranströmer won the Nobel Prize the other year … Ye Mimi’s poems are wonderful in that way: as “banality and surprising intelligence in unexpected union.” In fact they read a little like Tranströmer poems in which the metaphors flip out, go off in tangents. And a Tranströmer poem in which the tenor of the metaphor is not privileged – not over the vehicle, not over the “banal” everyday stuff (pink hoodies, telephone booths etc).
From there, he indicates a critique of Translation Studies as it’s come to be known under the direction of Lawrence Venuti, which he says “quarantines the work in translation: we never have the work in translation.”
New Directions editor Jeffrey Yang has a piece at The Atlantic about George Oppen & Time of Grief: Mourning Poems, an assemblage of international poetry he recently edited. Here’s how Atlantic writer Joe Fassler describes the book:
The new poetry anthology Time of Grief: Mourning Poems is an unusual, inventive take on a familiar subject: It explores grief in its various shades and incarnations. Structured like a calendar over a span of 49 days—a traditional mourning period in some Buddhist and Judaic traditions—the book includes a diverse sequence of poems written in more than 20 countries. With authors ranging from an 11th-century Chinese poet to Tomas Tranströmer, the Swedish winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize for Literature, Time of Grief presents human bereavement in unprecedented scale and scope.
Xi Chuan’s poem “Twilight” 暮色 is included in the anthology. Click here or on the image above to read the piece.
If you’re a poet outside the Anglophone world, and you manage to win the Nobel Prize, two things are likely to happen. First, your ascendancy will be questioned by fiction critics in a major English-language news publication. Second, there will be a fair amount of pushing and shoving among your translators (if you have any), as publishers attempt to capitalize on your 15 minutes of free media attention.
So begins David Orr‘s essay “Versions,” about the translations of last year’s Nobel laureate for literature Tomas Tranströmer. Maybe one day in the future Xi Chuan will win the Nobel prize, and we’ll be able to test this hypothesis (or test it with the last two Nobel Prize-winning poets from outside English, Wisława Szymborska  and Octavio Paz ); at any event, the article gives an interesting take on a worthwhile debate. I’ll come down on the side of Robin Fulton in this debate–not just that we share a publisher, but that I believe New Directions to have picked the right translator for the task.
[Fulton has also published a book of translations of the Norwegian poet Olav Hauge, whom Xi Chuan has also co-translated into Chinese; for a discussion of Xi Chuan’s translations, click here.]
A new double issue of the Beijing / LA-based literary journal Poetry East West 诗东西 is out, featuring poems by Xi Chuan in my translation and a grand host of other poets translated into & out of Chinese, from Diana Shi and George O’Connell’s Yu Jian 于坚 to Charles Laughlin’s Ma Lan 马兰 and Fan Jinghua’s Cheng Ying 成婴, along with Fan Jinghua’s 范静哗 translations of Derek Walcott, Li Li’s 李笠 translations of new Nobel Prize-winner Tomas Tranströmer, and others. Click on the link above for the full Table of Contents, or here for ordering and subscription information.
Monday, December 12, from six to seven p.m. in the Wei Hing Theatre 惠卿劇院 of CityU in Hong Kong, Bei Dao and other esteemed guests will be presenting the poems of New Directions poet and this year’s Nobel laureate for literature, Tomas Tranströmer. Click here for registration and more details.