SCMP on Bai Hua’s Wind Says

The South China Morning Post has published a review of Wind Says 风在说 (Zephyr Press), by Bai Hua 柏桦 and translated by Fiona Sze-Lorrain.

It’s a positive review, but it’s a horribly written one: full of cliches about Chinese essences (“Messages are conveyed in sharp but poignant images, paying homage to Chinese and Western writers of the past, as well as to the philosophical tradition in which Chinese writing is steeped.”), the untranslatability of translated poetry (“one must question how much is lost to the non-Chinese reader in translation”), and literary historical nonsense (“realism is, after all, a defining characteristic of Misty poetry, a reaction against restrictions on art during the Cultural Revolution”). By the time we reach the end line (“In Bai’s poetic voice, one can almost feel the winds of change blowing through the pages”), I feel queasy and am embarrassed to say I like the translations in a book that could inspire such homely homilies.

Oh, and there’s a picture of Chinese mountains enshrouded in mist–you know, because Bai Hua is post-“Misty,” get it?