Christina Cook at Switchback reviews Canyon in the Body 身体里的峡谷 by Lan Lan 蓝蓝, translated by Fiona Sze-Lorrain. Here’s how it wraps up:
One might call this collection of poems evidence of lyrical poetry at its finest or political poetry at its finest. However, Lan Lan’s, and Sze-Lorrain’s, evasive and eminently creative use of language and punctuation helps the book dodge ultimate categorization—in much the same way that the speaker in the poems defies being identified in a traditional, or even non-traditional way. It is poetry that complies without being compliant; subverts without being subversive. It is poetry written by a Chinese woman and translated into a Parisian woman who writes English. In mirroring the cultural complexities of our world, it is poetry that must, especially now, be read.
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Christina Cook of Cutbank Reviews has reviewed Yu Xiang’s 宇向 I Can Almost See the Clouds of Dust 我几乎看到滚滚尘埃, translated by Fiona Sze-Lorrain. Cook places Yu Xiang in the history of contemporary Chinese poetry, and says her
lines are neatly swept in a poetic house that has no cobwebs and does not pretend to be something it isn’t. The poem neither bears an underlying political agenda, as did the socialist, realist poetry of the mid-20th century; nor does it express a reaction against it, as did the Misty poetry of the late 20th century. It does not even hint at the anti-hero, anti-allegory, anti-image leanings of her New Generation contemporaries. This is the house that Yu built, where the books of the past are no longer threatening or even relevant, aside from the presence of the stacked physical forms. They have become as benign as the tangerine tree or the piece of coal beside them.
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