Goodman’s Wang Xiaoni on the Griffin Shortlist

Something Crosses My Mind by Wang Xiaoni, translated by Eleanor GoodmanThe shortlist for the International Griffin Poetry Prize–one of the most prestigious contemporary poetry prizes–has been announced, with Eleanor Goodman’s translation of Something Crosses My Mind 有什么在我心里一过 by Wang Xiaoni 王小妮, getting top billing.

The judges are Tim Bowling (Canada), Fanny Howe (USA) and Piotr Sommer (Poland). Their citation reads:

“What is so attractive about Wang Xiaoni’s poems as translated into English by Eleanor Goodman is her quiet, loving, meditative distance to the mostly anonymous and lonely heroes she clearly knows well. And her attitude to time, which she keeps dragging out of its anchored localities (and barely marked history) to extend and connect, or fuse with specific spaces that she also enlarges in size and scope. Moments prolong into a century or a life, imaginary beasts meld with real animals, description becomes an act of meditation. In a few lines, a village can take on the dimension of a vast landscape – and yet still remain that particular village. And while Xiaoni’s [sic] characters may not speak, they seem to have a real insight into our experience and lives. In a way nothing much happens in her magic lyricism: the wind blows, the ocean rises, people work or move from one place to another, or wait, or just leave some place, and they have souls (which behave like shadows); someone on a journey sees them, through the window, between one landscape and another, and it’s difficult to know why all this is so moving. Reading her, I found myself repeating Auden’s phrase “About suffering they were never wrong, / The old Masters.” Wang Xiaoni is a terrific contemporary poet gracefully extending the great classical Chinese tradition.”

Click the image above for the full list.

SCMP Reviews Something Crosses My Mind

Amy Russell at the South China Morning Post has reviewed Something Crosses My Mind 有什么在我心里一过, Eleanor Goodman’s translation of poems by Wang Xiaoni 王小妮. Here’s an excerpt:

The interaction between Wang’s characters and their environment is a crucial aspect of her work, vividly epitomised in Plowman, where “red … comes after punishment” and “after pain has been quietly survived”.

Wang’s gentle but weighty words are built from sharp observation, and deliver an honesty and rawness brilliantly captured in the translation by Harvard research associate Eleanor Goodman. As a northerner writing in the south, Wang has an outsider’s perspective, noticing details that locals might overlook.

Click on the image for the full review.

Asian Review of Books on Goodman’s Wang Xiaoni

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.

Click on the image above for the full review.

Eleanor Goodman’s Wang Xiaoni on Asymptote

Asymptote has published a suite of Wang Xiaoni 王小妮 poems translated by Eleanor Goodman, from the forthcoming Zephyr / Chinese University Press book Something Crosses My Mind. Here’s a taste:

Moonlight, No. 1

The moon unexpectedly casts its light.
A warm ocean island’s metal shell glints
and the earth shows its hidden treasures.

This armor that practices falling onto shoulders
gives off only a cold light, and no sound.
In silver fragments that float farther and farther
tonight I should at least find something to do.

Ferocity takes its chance to hide even deeper
an outstretched hand reaches the light
so soft that no matter the angle it never looks like a dagger.

5.2006, Shenzhen

Click on the image above for the full suite.

Moonlight, No. 1The moon unexpectedly casts its light.
A warm ocean island’s metal shell glints
and the earth shows its hidden treasures.

This armor that practices falling onto shoulders
gives off only a cold light, and no sound.
In silver fragments that float farther and farther
tonight I should at least find something to do.

Ferocity takes its chance to hide even deeper
an outstretched hand reaches the light
so soft that no matter the angle it never looks like a dagger.

5.2006, Shenzhen  – See more at: http://www.asymptotejournal.com/article.php?cat=Poetry&id=187#sthash.2efCWm1F.dpuf

Moonlight, No. 1The moon unexpectedly casts its light.
A warm ocean island’s metal shell glints
and the earth shows its hidden treasures.

This armor that practices falling onto shoulders
gives off only a cold light, and no sound.
In silver fragments that float farther and farther
tonight I should at least find something to do.

Ferocity takes its chance to hide even deeper
an outstretched hand reaches the light
so soft that no matter the angle it never looks like a dagger.

5.2006, Shenzhen  – See more at: http://www.asymptotejournal.com/article.php?cat=Poetry&id=187#sthash.2efCWm1F.dpuf

Moonlight, No. 1The moon unexpectedly casts its light.
A warm ocean island’s metal shell glints
and the earth shows its hidden treasures.

This armor that practices falling onto shoulders
gives off only a cold light, and no sound.
In silver fragments that float farther and farther
tonight I should at least find something to do.

Ferocity takes its chance to hide even deeper
an outstretched hand reaches the light
so soft that no matter the angle it never looks like a dagger.

5.2006, Shenzhen  – See more at: http://www.asymptotejournal.com/article.php?cat=Poetry&id=187#sthash.2efCWm1F.dpuf

Moonlight, No. 1The moon unexpectedly casts its light.
A warm ocean island’s metal shell glints
and the earth shows its hidden treasures.

This armor that practices falling onto shoulders
gives off only a cold light, and no sound.
In silver fragments that float farther and farther
tonight I should at least find something to do.

Ferocity takes its chance to hide even deeper
an outstretched hand reaches the light
so soft that no matter the angle it never looks like a dagger.

5.2006, Shenzhen  – See more at: http://www.asymptotejournal.com/article.php?cat=Poetry&id=187#sthash.2efCWm1F.dpuf

Eleanor Goodman’s Wang Xiaoni on Circumference

1-王小妮照片EG headshot 2014In advance of Something Crosses My Mind 有甚么在我心里一过, Circumference has published two Wang Xiaoni 王小妮 poems as translated by Eleanor Goodman. Goodman writes:

Wang Xiaoni is a poet of small gestures. The energy in her work comes not from grand pronouncements or abstractions, but from the details of daily life. She writes of trains and pockets, cold weather and potatoes, windows and the moon. Yet this poet’s daily life also includes ghosts, ancient scarecrows in dresses, and lotus ponds that bubble black.

And here’s a taste of the poetry:

Ah this mind, there is nothing it likes
it can only like the boundless black depths behind the night sky.

The train is too flustered to pick a track
it grasps the gilded silver-inlaid earth
for fear it will be thrown off, or soar up and crash back down.
Centipedes slide about, landing legs in the air, haha, in the pale moonlit night.

Click the images above for the two poems in full.

Asymptote’s 3rd Anniversary in Shanghai

To celebrate turning 3, Asymptote will make its first-ever appearance in Shanghai on 29 Mar (Saturday) at Anne-Cecile Noique ART! In collaboration with NYU Shanghai, we jointly present “New Voices from South Korea and China,” featuring Asymptote contributors Eleanor Goodman and Eun Joo Kim. Eleanor Goodman will be reading her translations of Chinese poets Li Li 李笠, Sun Wenbo 孙文波, and Wang Xiaoni 王小妮 while Eun Joo Kim will be reading her translations of the Korean poet Kim Ki-taek. The readings will be followed by a short Q&A. Come out and celebrate with us!

Click the image above for more information.

PEN Translation Grants for Chinese Poetry

The PEN/Heim Translation Fund has announced its 2013 winners.

The Fund’s Advisory Board are: Susan Bernofsky, Barbara Epler, Richard Sieburth, Lauren Wein, Eliot Weinberger, Natasha Wimmer, Matvei Yankelevich, and chair Michael F. Moore.
Special congrats to:

Chloe Garcia Roberts for her translation of Escalating Derangements of My Contemporaries by the 9th century Classical Chinese poet Li Shangyin. Garcia Roberts’ translation of these spare, immediate poem-lists is lyrical and intuitive. (To be published by New Directions)

Not Poor: Indications

Thoroughbreds sighing.
Wax tears on candles.
Chestnut shells.
Lychee husks.
Stacks and heaps of money, rice.
Mother of pearl hairpins, abandoned.
Jargon of orioles, swallows.
Eddies of fallen blossoms.
Songs sung atop a tall building.
Books read aloud.
Sounds of grinding medicine, rolling tea.

Eleanor Goodman for Something Crosses My Mind, selected poems of Wang Xiaoni. Xiaoni’s sharp apprehensions of daily life have made her, since the 1970s, one of China’s most influential poets. Goodman’s pitch-perfect translation makes Xiaoni’s work available for the first time in book form in English. (To be published by Zephyr Press)

Typhoon, No. 1

The night of the typhoon, the sky was full, the world destroyed.

From west to east, herds of black cattle rolled on their heads
the wind’s hoofs beat at the windows
everything on the ground rose to the sky.

The people were packed into the night
the night was packed into an exploding drum.
The wildly arrogant air
presented rolling tanks from another world.
There was no sign of resistance
that’s just the way the extraordinary happens.

And also:

Jeremy Tiang for Nine Buildings by Chinese playwright Zou Jingzhi. These blunt, tamped-down translations of tales of youth during cultural revolution in Beijing address the grim cruelty of that time. Tiang’s language has a tang and matter-of-factness that effectively communicates the harshness of this text. (Available for publication)

New Cathay: Contemporary Chinese Poetry

New Cathay: Contemporary Chinese Poetry Edited by Ming Di

 

New Cathay: Contemporary Chinese Poetry

The most up-to-date anthology of contemporary Chinese poetry, translated by American poets and edited by the executive editor of the bilingual literary journal Poetry East West. Showcasing the achievement of Chinese poetry in the last twenty years, a time of tremendous literary ferment, this collection focuses on a diversity of exciting poets from the mainland, highlighting Duo Duo (laureate of the 2010 Neustadt International Prize for Literature) and Liao Yiwu (recipient of 2012 Peace Prize of the German Book Trade organization) along with not yet well-known but brilliant poets such as Zang Di and Xiao Kaiyu and younger poets Jiang Tao and Lü Yue. The anthology includes interviews with the poets and a fascinating survey of their opinions on “Ten Favorite Chinese poets” and “Ten Best-Known Western poets in China.”

Featured poets: Duo Duo, Wang Xiaoni, Bai Hua, Zhang Shuguang, Sun Wenbo, Wang Jiaxin, Liao Yiwu, Song Lin, Xiao Kaiyu, Lü De’an, Feng Yan, Yang Xiaobin, Zang Di, Ya Shi, Mai Mang, Lan Lan, Jiang Tao, Jiang Hao, Lü Yue, Hu Xudong, Yi Lai, Jiang Li, Zheng Xiaoqiong, Qiu Qixuan, and Li Shumin.

With translations by Neil Aitken, Katie Farris, Ming Di, Christopher Lupke, Tony Barnstone, Afaa Weaver, Jonathan Stalling, Nick Admussen, Eleanor Goodman, Ao Wang, Dian Li, Kerry Shawn Keys, Jennifer Kronovet, Elizabeth Reitzell, and Cody Reese.

DJS Translation Award for 2012

from Poetry East West 诗东西:

DJS Translation Award for 2012

News Release December 26, 2012

DJS Translation Award for 2012 will be given to the following individuals whose new translations of Chinese poetry have formed a significant part of “New Cathay: Contemporary Chinese Poetry 1990-2012” (to be published by Tupelo Press in 2013):

Nick Admussen (for translation of Ya Shi)

Christopher Lupke (for translation of Xiao Kaiyu)

Jonathan Stalling (for translation of Zheng Xiaoqiong)

Katie Farris (for co-translation of Duo Duo, Liao Yiwu, Zhang Shuguang, Feng Yan, and Hu Xudong)

Afaa Weaver (for co-translation of Sun Wenbo and Jiang Hao)

Tony Barnstone (for co-translation of Jiang Tao, Hu Xudong and Li Shumin)

Kerry Shawn Keys (for co-translation of Song Lin)

Eleanor Goodman (for co-translation of Bai Hua)

Jennifer Kronovet (for co-translation of Wang Xiaoni and Lan Lan)

Elizabeth Reitzell (for co-translation of Sun Wenbo)

Cody Reese (for co-translation of Hu Xudong)

The above translators will share the DJS Translation Award for 2012.

 

The 2011 DJS Translation Award recipient was Neil Aitken for his co-translations of poetry by Chinese poets Lü De’an, Sun Wenbo, Jiang Tao, Qin Xiaoyu, Yang Xiaobin, Zhang Zhihao, Liu Jiemin, Yu Xiang, Lü Yue, and Jiang Li.

DJS Translation Award was established by DJS Art Foundation, a private entity, to promote literary exchange between China and other countries and to encourage quality translation of poetry. DJS has supported several projects such as the multi-lingual journal Poetry East West. For more information, please visit the DJS pages on the website of Poetry East West: http://poetryeastwest.com/djs-translation-award/