Eileen Tabios reviews Bradbury’s Hsia Yü

In one of the most effusive reviews I’ve ever read, Eileen Tabios at Galatea Resurrection #23 engages Salsa by Hsia Yü 夏宇, as translated by Steve Bradbury (Zephyr, 2014). She writes:

I really really like these poems, I began to think after the third poem in the book. Finishing the collection just affirmed: I really really like these poems.

Translations are often reviewed by people who know the source language. Whether they know poetry in the target language much more of a coin-flip. Here, though, the reviewer really knows poetry. I think one of the best paragraphs in the review is where she lays it out:

There’s an is-ness to these poems. It’s an effect facilitated by how many (not all, but many) lines contain individual thoughts. Thus, the effect of Read-a-line: boom, Read-a-line: boom, etc. is perfectly pitched, the boom effect on the reader not elongated onto the next line. For example, these stanzas from “Continuing Our Discussion of Tediousness“ which also serve as ars poetica:

And so we must continue our discussion of tediousness
Tedious things are all so very tedious
And every tedious thing is tedious too
Actually it takes a tedious to be
Tediousness doesn’t need to be discovered, its simply there.

Click the image above for the full engagement.