Goodman’s Zang Di wins 2020 Patrick D. Hanan Book Prize from AAS

The Hanan Prize for Translation (China and Inner Asia) was established in 2015 and is given biennially to an outstanding English translation of a significant work in any genre originally written in Chinese or an Inner Asian Language, from any time period.

This year’s winner is Eleanor Goodman, for The Roots of Wisdom by Zang Di 臧棣 (Zephyr Press).

The Awards Ceremony was going to be at the upcoming AAS annual conference in Boston, MA on Friday, March 20, but the conference has been canceled.

Click here for all this year’s AAS awardees.

Announcing publication of Chinese Poetry and Translation: Rights and Wrongs

We are pleased to announce publication of Chinese Poetry and Translation: Rights and Wrongs (Amsterdam University Press, 2019).

Open access download here. Order print copies here.

CHINESE POETRY AND TRANSLATION: RIGHTS AND WRONGS
    edited by Maghiel van Crevel and Lucas Klein

Introduction: The Weird Third Thing
    Maghiel van Crevel and Lucas Klein

Part One: The Translator’s Take

(1) Sitting with Discomfort: A Queer-Feminist Approach to Translating Yu Xiuhua
     Jenn Marie Nunes

(2) Working with Words: Poetry, Translation, and Labor
     Eleanor Goodman

(3) Translating Great Distances: The Case of the Shijing
     Joseph R. Allen

(4) Purpose and Form: On the Translation of Classical Chinese Poetry
     Wilt L. Idema

Part Two: Theoretics

(5) Embodiment in the Translation of Chinese Poetry
     Nick Admussen

(6) Translating Theory: Bei Dao, Pasternak, and Russian Formalism
    Jacob Edmond

(7) Narrativity in Lyric Translation: English Translations of Chinese Ci Poetry
    Zhou Min

(8) Sublimating Sorrow: How to Embrace Contradiction in Translating the “Li Sao”
    Nicholas Morrow Williams

(9) Mediation Is Our Authenticity: Dagong Poetry and the Shijing in Translation
    Lucas Klein

Part Three: Impact

(10) Ecofeminism avant la lettre: Chen Jingrong and Baudelaire
    Liansu Meng

(11) Ronald Mar and the Trope of Life: The Translation of Western Modernist Poetry in Hong Kong
    Chris Song

(12) Ya Xian’s Lyrical Montage: Modernist Poetry in Taiwan through the Lens of Translation
    Tara Coleman

(13) Celan’s “Deathfugue” in Chinese: A Polemic about Translation and Everything Else
    Joanna Krenz

(14) Trauma in Translation: Liao Yiwu’s “Massacre” in English and German
    Rui Kunze

(15) A Noble Art, and a Tricky Business: Translation Anthologies of Chinese Poetry
    Maghiel van Crevel

International Poetry Nights in Hong Kong

International Poetry Nights in Hong Kong – 10th Anniversary Celebration
Speech and Silence
November 19-24, 2019

Nearly every other festival, public lecture, and concert in Hong Kong seems to have been canceled, but International Poetry Nights in Hong Kong will take place as scheduled! (though at a different venue than earlier planned)

Join thirty international poets, plus musicians and esteemed literary translators, for a festival of poetry (and the resilience of culture in Hong Kong), on the theme “Speech and Silence.”

Events will take place at the Jao Tsung-I Academy 饒宗頤文化館, 800 Castle Peak Road, Lai Chi Kok, Kowloon.

Readings are from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m., with music concerts following. For times and information on panel discussions on themes such as “Genre and Gender,” “The State of Resistance,” “Poetry, Translation, Hong Kong,” and “AI, Translating the Mother Tongue of Poetry,” check the full schedule.

Here is the list of participating poets and their places of origin:

Tamim AL-BARGHOUTI (Palestine)
Martin SOLOTRUK (Slovakia)
TÓTH Krisztina (Hungary)
Anastassis VISTONITIS (Greece)
Ana BLANDIANA (Romania)
Ana RISTOVIĆ (Serbia)
Derek CHUNG 鍾國強 (Hong Kong)
Forrest GANDER (United States)
Miłosz BIEDRZYCKI (Poland)
Renato Sandoval BACIGALUPO (Peru)
MATHURA (Estonia)
Louise DUPRÉ (Canada)
Ana Luísa AMARAL (Portugal)
HWANG Yu Won (South Korea)
Jen BERVIN (United States)
Abbas BEYDOUN (Lebanon)
Maxim AMELIN (Russia)
Sergio RAIMONDI (Argentina)
K. SATCHIDANANDAN (India)
MAOZI 毛子 (PRC)
ZHENG Xiaoqiong 鄭小瓊 (PRC)
Ijeoma UMEBINYUO (Nigeria)
Aleš ŠTEGER (Slovenia)
Jan WAGNER (Germany)
Ernest WICHNER (Germany)
YANG Chia-Hsien 楊佳嫻 (Taiwan)
Yasuhiro YOTSUMOTO (Japan)
YU Youyou 余幼幼 (PRC)
ZHOU Yunpeng 周雲蓬 (PRC)
Maria STEPANOVA (Russia)

And here the list of special guests, including translators and AI poets:

Nick Admussen
John Cayley
Johannes Göransson
David Jhave Johnston
Andrea Lingenfelter
Yara El-Masri
Jennifer Feeley
Eleanor Goodman
Ting Guo 郭婷
Tammy Ho 何麗明
Viorica Patea
Lea Schneider
Ulrich Schreiber
Zhao Si 趙四
Jordan A. Y. Smith

The 2019 Lucien Stryk Asian Translation Prize Shortlist

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October Dedications, shortlisted for the 2019 Lucien Stryk Asian Translation Prize

October Dedications, the selected poetry of Mang Ke 芒克 (Zephyr Press), translated from the Chinese by Lucas Klein with Jonathan Stalling and Huang Yibing, has been shortlisted for the 2019 Lucien Stryk Asian Translation Prize, administered by the American Literary Translators Association (ALTA)!

Days When I Hide My Corpse in a Cardboard Box, poems by Lok Fung 洛楓 (Zephyr) translated by Eleanor Goodman, is the other book of poems translated from Chinese to make the shortlist.

Books by Kim Hyesoon translated from the Korean by Don Mee Choi, by Shrinivas Vaidya translated from the Kannada by Maithreyi Karnoor, and by Jin Eun-young translated from the Korean by Daniel T. Parker and YoungShil Ji, have also made the shortlist. This year’s judges are Chenxin Jiang, Vivek Narayanan, and Hai-Dang Phan.

Click here for the full descriptions of the shortlisted books.

Goodman’s Lok Fung reviewed at HKRB

Hong Kong Review of Books has published May Huang’s review of Days When I Hide My Corpse in a Cardboard Box, poems by Lok Fung 洛楓 translated by Eleanor Goodman (Zephyr Press).

Here’s a striking–and, I think, apt–line:

The pressures placed on women to appear young and stay beautiful are closely tied to systems of oppression inflicted upon the city itself.

Huang also pays attention to the translation–as all reviews of translated literature must, if they are to be worthwhile at all–and the multilingualism of the book and of life in Hong Kong:

While the visual effect of seeing English words amid a Chinese text disappears in the English translation, Goodman deftly captures the multilingual qualities of Lok’s poetics nonetheless. In “Tracks of Emotion,” Lok cites the English lyrics to Vanessa Williams’ “Save the Best for Last” in an otherwise Cantonese poem set in the train station. In Goodman’s translation, her use of the word “tracks” becomes an instance of clever wordplay, as it refers to both song tracks and train tracks. In other poems, rhymes in the English beautifully echo or complement the original Chinese: “I am low as a cello” and “I am slayed, I rot / powerless whether I love or not” are two instances. The book itself, which is printed in parallel texts, speaks to the multivalences that translation can expose—as does the Hong Kong Atlas series, the first to exclusively spotlight Hong Kong poetry in translation.

Click here for the review in full.

Goodman Interviewed for Shanghai Literary Review

Brian Haman of The Shanghai Literary Review has interviewed poet and translator Eleanor Goodman “about translating Chinese literature, gender dynamics within contemporary Chinese poetry, linguistic and geographical liminality, and the meaning of home.”

The questions start out rote, but it’s not long before the conversation gets going:

BH: Do you think that there’s a cross-pollination between the translation work and your work as a poet? Is there a continuity of images, themes, or ideas? And how do you choose the works that you translate?

Goodman: … On a linguistic level, I’m very interested in the plasticity of Chinese, the way that the different grammatical elements can be put together in more configurations than can generally be done naturally in English. For a while I was very interested in this technique that some Chinese poets use where you have what seems to be an integral line of poetry and then the next line casts a different meaning on it. Ambiguous subject or ambiguous nouns, leaving out “he” or “she” or “it,” the lack of certain things like noun markers – there’s a kind of ambiguity that Chinese poets manipulate beautifully and to great effect and I sometimes try to play with that in my own work.

And, on the role of gender in the field of Chinese poetry today, she says:

In Chinese poetry there are shiren (诗人) [poet] and nü shiren (女诗人) [female poet]. Poetry is still considered a male game: men write about the important topics; they have an expansive, outward looking view; they’re philosophical; they have deep thoughts. Women, in stark contrast, write about jiating shiqing (家庭事情) [the household]: they write about domestic things such as children and making dinner. They’re inward looking rather than outward looking. And those kinds of attitudes are deeply entrenched in the Chinese poetry world, and not just among male poets but also to some degree among a minority set of women poets, who have internalized this and who do write about flowers in springtime – not that there’s anything wrong with that (after all, Wordsworth wrote about such things). But the majority of female poets that I come into contact with are infuriated by this assumed hierarchy and the limitations that they constantly come up against.

Follow the link for the interview in full.

Introduction to Chinese Poetry in Translation in SupChina

As part of SupChina‘s feature on poetry last month, translator Dave Haysom selected five books to introduce Chinese poetry in English translation: Chinese Poetic Writing by François Cheng (translated by Donald A. Riggs & Jerome P. Seaton), The New Directions Anthology of Classical Chinese Poetry (edited by Eliot Weinberger), Jade Ladder: Contemporary Chinese Poetry (edited by W.N. Herbert & Yang Lian, with Brian Holton), Iron Moon: An Anthology of Chinese Worker Poetry (translated by Eleanor Goodman), and Nineteen Ways of Looking at Wang Wei: How a Chinese Poem is Translated by Eliot Weinberger.

Click through to see more on these titles, as well as Dave’s honorable mentions.

Daniel Tay on The Reciprocal Translation Project

Daniel Tay has written a review of The Reciprocal Translation Project, edited by James Sherry and Sun Dong 孙冬, which gives a different take from Eleanor Goodman‘s (“There is no acknowledgement of the structure, form, tone, emotional texture, repetition, surprise, rhythm, rhyme, sound effect, level of diction, intent, etc., etc., of the original,” posted here earlier). He writes:

All in all, the poems and their translations are strong and successful. That is, they make good on the editors’ aims, and do so without conclusively declaring any single work as ideal, final, better, or best. The poets generate translations that expose and negotiate the similarities and differences between Chinese and American language, poetic interests, and cultures. In doing so, they expand the criteria available for writing and considering translations.

Put another way, the poets and editors show that poems, translations, and their writers can create and function together in a poetic ecosystem. Normally placed in an evaluative hierarchy, with different works competing for critical praise and attention, these poems and their translations function in an inclusive hierarchy. This means that the poems and translations develop meaning in one another, symbiotically, with none being superior in status to the other. Moreover, no poem or translation is the title work of the collection, and no work is inferior to the collection as a whole …

In this poetic ecosystem, writers do not, as generally understood, hand down their original works to translators; instead, they hand them off – in this case to contemporaries and peers. Critics and publishers often claim that translations have “captured” an original work or its voice. The environmental model for poetics, embodied in The Reciprocal Translation Project, introduces nonlinear goals for translations, and adds a useful complexity to their relationships with original works.

This far, the review only reiterates what Sun and Sherry write in their introduction. But Tay goes on:

in observing the ways in which these questions overwhelmed me, I came to see that my questions manifested a personal resistance. With so many choices, I was refusing to settle into and engage any particular way of reading. After all, each way of reading would preclude, prevent, or worse predetermine certain understandings of the texts. How could I see past my particular way of reading to identify the aims and maneuvers of the various writers?

In showing multiple translations side by side and without commentary, the book invites readers to take stock of and maintain awareness of their own assumptions, preconditions, and demands for texts. At the same time, it asks readers to observe the variety of writers’ considerations, expectations, and intentions as expressed through their works. In essence, readers must reflect, look inward, and ultimately accept and take responsibility for their ways of reading. Only then can they negotiate, and translate between, those ways of reading and the translators’ ways of translating.

Click here to read the review in full.

Denis Mair on Meng Lang

Three poets come to Bumbershoot

In honor of the passing of Meng Lang 孟浪 (1961 – 2018) on December 12 in Hong Kong, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal has published a commemorative piece by Denis Mair, his friend and translator:

All these details are just the outer lineaments of Meng Lang’s life, but his true story—his true biography–lies in the trajectory of his poems. He was a poet who found his own unique path to write about the social, political realities of his country in the language of modern, avant-garde thought. As a poet he always faced political realities, never going down a rabbit hole of metaphysics or aestheticism, yet each poem demonstrates his powerful artistic sensibility. I reaped tremendous reward by translating over a hundred of his poems, and I am proud that he trusted me with his beautiful creations.

Later this month Cha will publish a feature on Meng Lang and his place in poetry, with poems by Meng translated by Mair, as well as poems by Hong Kong writers Tang Siu Wa 鄧小樺, Jacky Yuen 熒惑, Kwan Tin-Lam 關天林, and Liu Waitong 廖偉棠 remembering Meng–as translated by Jennifer Feeley, Nick Admussen, Eleanor Goodman, and Lucas Klein.

Click here for Mair’s commemoration.