LA Review Reviews Lan Lan

CanyonintheBodyJohn Zeiser writing for the LA Review has his take on Canyon in the Body, by Lan Lan 蓝蓝 as translated by Fiona Sze-Lorrain, from the Jintian series published by Zephyr and Chinese University Presses. He writes:

her early success was followed by years of poor health which prevented her from attending university. Although she never lost sight of poetry as her calling, she had to take work where she could find it. She was a crane operator, a packer in a factory, and eventually as a technical writer. These experiences on the bottom rungs of a country plowing forward crop up again and again. Small villages full of laborers and peasants she encountered daily populate her poems. In “Please Discuss Happiness with Me”, she writes, “an old shepherd smacks his lips loudly / on a wine cup” while in “Siesta”:

Noon. The village slumps into
…………a bright late night.

A draft brushes the spine of a napping man
a mother lies on a kang mat nursing her child
her fragrant body aligning with the earth.

I will make one correction, though: Zeiser says “For many, the Jintian collections represent their first in English.” In fact, this is the first collection in English for every poet published in the series.

Click the image for the full review.