Lucas Klein on Rui Kunze’s Struggle and Symbiosis

200My review of Rui Kunze’s scholarly monograph, Struggle and Symbiosis: The Canonization of the Poet Haizi and Cultural Discourses in Contemporary China, has been published online by Modern Chinese Literature & Culture. Here’s how it begins:

“The death of Haizi the poet will become one of the myths of our time,” eulogized Xi Chuan 西川 in 1990, a year after the suicide of one of his closest friends. Four years later, however, he tried to pierce that mythology: if we continue to “frame Haizi in a sort of metaphysical halo,” he wrote, “then we can neither get a clear view of Haizi the person nor of his poetry.” Testifying to its significance in the promotion and dissemination of Haizi’s writings, the first quotation (differently translated and romanized) also appears on the back cover of Over Autumn Rooftops (Host Publications, 2010), the collection of Haizi translations by Dan Murphy… The reconsideration, however, presents a cognizance essential for literary history and readers interested in approaching the reality, rather than mythology, of the poet. It is also the starting point for Rui Kunze’s ambitious, painstakingly researched, yet ultimately uneven study, Struggle and Symbiosis: The Canonization of the Poet Haizi and Cultural Discourses in Contemporary China.

Click on the image above for the full review.

Michelle Yeh on Dan Murphy’s translation of Over Autumn Rooftops: Poems by Hai Zi

200At Modern Chinese Literature & Culture, esteemed scholar Michelle Yeh 溪密 has a review of Dan Murphy‘s translations of Hai Zi 海子 (an early friend of Xi Chuan’s) in the collection Over Autumn Rooftops. A fan of the translations overall, Yeh’s enthusiasm emerges most when she discusses the poetry, as follows:

What readers will find–and enjoy–in Over Autumn Rooftops is a poetry of considerable complexity. Hai Zi draws on a wide range of literary sources: from the Book of Odes and Qu Yuan to Homer and Greek mythology, from canonical works to folk literature. His early poetry suggests influences by his older contemporaries, such as Shu Ting and Duo Duo. His images exhibit a tendency toward the primal (water, fire, sky, earth, fish, bird, seasons) and the sublime (“the king,” God), and he often identifies with village, sun, prairie, and wheat (“beautiful, wounded wheat” [237], “wheat in despair”). His language is simple yet tinged with mysticism, effortlessly crossing the boundary between the inner and the external world.

Click here or the image above for the review.

Hai Zi in Swedish & English

Segueing off the days of links to posts on Xi Chuan in German, as well as the recent reports on Chinese week at Norway’s Litteraturhuset, here are translations of Hai Zi 海子 into Swedish by Anna Gustafsson Chen.

Hai Zi, a friend of Xi Chuan’s whose suicide in 1989 left an indelible mark on the latter’s life and shifting writing styles, has also been translated into English by Dan Murphy as Over Autumn Rooftops (Host Publications), by Zeng Hong for Edwin Mellen Press, and with another book forthcoming with translations by Ye Chun (poetry) and Fiona Sze-Lorrain (prose) as Wheat Has Ripened (Tupelo Press, 2012)–and another volume is in the works by Gerald Maa.