Chinese Poetry Posters in Germany

Continuing with the theme of Xi Chuan reports in German, here’s an article summarizing some of the concerns and history of contemporary Chinese poetry, springboarding from the Chinese Poetry Poster campaign Xi Chuan organized for German cities a couple years ago.

Again, if you don’t read German, you can find the Google-translated version here. This translation, however, is considerably worse than the machine-translation of Xi Chuan’s interview I posted yesterday, though worse in an at times endearing manner. The “hermetic seal” poetry (German „hermetischen Dichtung“), for instance, is the computerized English version of the German term for menglong shi 朦胧诗, which in English should be Obscure Poetry (often misleadingly translated as “Misty Poetry“), the name of the poetry movement that emerged in China after the Cultural Revolution. And consider how the 我—-不—-相—-信 of Bei Dao 北島 comes out in English via the German: “I tell you, world, / I – think – not!” (for my translation with Clayton Eshleman of this Bei Dao poem, see this or this). I expect Wolfgang Kubin‘s translation sounds better in German: „Ich sage dir, Welt, / ich – glaube – nicht!“