Chinese Poetry in the Lucien Stryk Shortlist

The American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) has announced the 2016 Lucien Stryk Asian Translation Prize shortlist, including two books that are translations from the Chinese, by Hai Zi 海子 and Wang Anshi 王安石:

zi_coverRipened Wheat: Selected Poems of Hai Zi
By Hai Zi
Translated from the Chinese by Ye Chun
(The Bitter Oleander Press)

Hai Zi is one of China’s most beloved poets, whose suicide at the age of 25, just months before the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, catapulted him to a fame that is almost mythic in proportions. Although his poetic oeuvre is relatively small, his archetypal descriptions of a rural and natural world now virtually extinguished by industrialization, have a lyric intensity that is richly evocative:

Sunlight

Pear flowers
arise along the dirt wall
Cow bells dinging

Auntie brings my nephews over
They stand in front of me
like two charcoal sticks

Sunlight is in fact very strong
Whip and blood for all that grows!

Ye Chun is not the first translator to represent Hai Zi’s poetry in English, but her generous selection of poems and informative preface provide an excellent introduction to this marvelous poet.

and
the_late_poems_of_wang_anshih
The Late Poems of Wang An-Shih

By Wang An-Shih
Translated from the Chinese by David Hinton
(New Directions)

 

David Hinton has long been accepted as one of the premier translators of ancient Chinese texts. He has translated not only collections of the essential poets Li Po, Tu Fu, Wang Wei, Po Chü-i and others, but also given us new interpretations of the I Ching, the Analects, and the Tao Te Ching. In this new translation, Hinton brings us the less well-known Sung poet Wang An-shih, an eccentric figure and brilliant poet.

I can’t see anything of this autumn day,
its last few scraps of yellow in treetops.

Out with my goosefoot staff, I think of
serene fields, but looking find no light.

Hinton captures the Chan Buddhist background of the poet and the freely roaming nature of his later life in finely-wrought language and vivid images. This is an important collection rendered beautifully into English.

This year’s judges are Steve Bradbury, Eleanor Goodman, and Kendall Heitzman. Click either image for the full list.

Asymptote Nominates Hai Zi for Pushcart

Asymptote has put forward translations of Hai Zi 海子 by Ye Chun for consideration for the 2014 Puschart Prize.

in the wheat field of May      dreaming of my brothers
I see cobblestones roll over the riverbank
The arc sky at dusk
fills the earth with sad villages
Sometimes I sit in the wheat field reciting Chinese poetry
My eyes disappear, my lips disappear
有时我孤独一人坐下
在五月的麦地 梦想众兄弟
看到家乡的卵石滚满了河滩
黄昏常存弧形的天空
让大地上布满哀伤的村庄
有时我孤独一人坐在麦地里为众兄弟背诵中国诗歌
没 有了眼睛也没有了嘴唇
Click on the image above for the full issue

Hai Zi translations in Asymptote

The new issue of Asymptote is here, with translations of Hai Zi 海子 by Ye Chun:

Sometimes I sit alone
in the wheat field of May      dreaming of my brothers
I see cobblestones roll over the riverbank
The arc sky at dusk
fills the earth with sad villages
Sometimes I sit in the wheat field reciting Chinese poetry
My eyes disappear, my lips disappear
有时我孤独一人坐下
在五月的麦地 梦想众兄弟
看到家乡的卵石滚满了河滩
黄昏常存弧形的天空
让大地上布满哀伤的村庄
有时我孤独一人坐在麦地里为众兄弟背诵中国诗歌
没 有了眼睛也没有了嘴唇
Click on the image above for the full issue

Hai Zi in Swedish & English

Segueing off the days of links to posts on Xi Chuan in German, as well as the recent reports on Chinese week at Norway’s Litteraturhuset, here are translations of Hai Zi 海子 into Swedish by Anna Gustafsson Chen.

Hai Zi, a friend of Xi Chuan’s whose suicide in 1989 left an indelible mark on the latter’s life and shifting writing styles, has also been translated into English by Dan Murphy as Over Autumn Rooftops (Host Publications), by Zeng Hong for Edwin Mellen Press, and with another book forthcoming with translations by Ye Chun (poetry) and Fiona Sze-Lorrain (prose) as Wheat Has Ripened (Tupelo Press, 2012)–and another volume is in the works by Gerald Maa.