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.

    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

AAWW Interview with Liao Yiwu

Jiayang Fan interviews Liao Yiwu 廖亦武, author of For a Song and a Hundred Songs, for the Asian American Writers’ Workshop. Interview translated into English by Liz Carter. Here’s an excerpt:

Do you think that you, as a Chinese writer, must take a stance on China’s government? Or do you think, as someone who writes literature, you do not necessarily need to have anything to do with politics?

The difference between myself and the dictatorship is a difference of aesthetics. I am a person who writes stories. The further removed from politics and power I am, the better. Unfortunately, they feel that a person who tells stories is guilty of subversion of state power. Furthermore, I didn’t want to express any political ideas in my writing. Like I just mentioned, political views can show up in a different way. Political correctness, in a book, is like standing on the side of reason, but one of the most basic things about being an intellectual is this: you must have doubt and you must ask questions, even for your own writing, yourself, your weaknesses. You have to keep that skepticism. Many writers, while describing politics or the Chinese Communist Party, stop asking questions of and being skeptical toward themselves. I think this is far removed from that sort of thing.

In the beginning of the book, you wrote that in a talk with Michael Day, a Canadian friend and one of the first foreigners you became close to in China, he really wanted you to participate in the protests at Tiananmen.


And then you asked, “Do you think you love China more than me?” That line really stayed with me.

That guy is more Chinese than I am.

Click the image above for the full interview.

After this, No More Mo Yan

Canadian author Alice Munro (PETER MUHLY/AFP/Getty Images)

Now that “Dissident writer Alice Munro was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature Thursday morning for her fiction critical of the Canadian regime,” the year of Mo Yan’s Nobel has ended.

So the last Mo Yan update from this blog will be a link to this interview with Liao Yiwu 廖亦武, who, upon being asked to compare himself with Mo Yan, who, ahem, “received the Nobel Peace in Literature,” said:

I don’t want to be compared to someone like Mo Yan. He is an official of the Communist Party. Whenever he makes a public appearance, he is representing the dictatorship. So my criticism is natural … Of course there is a happy medium; there are authors who criticize the realities of Chinese society without being political. But they aren’t on the side of the dictatorship. Mo Yan overdoes it.