Lucien Stryk Award Shortlist

Stryk CollageALTA has posted the shortlist for this year’s Lucien Stryk Award, which honors book-length translations into English of poetry or Zen Buddhist texts from Hindi, Sanskrit, Tamil, Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean into English.

The shortlisted titles are:

  • Cat Town by Sakutarō Hagiwara 萩原朔太郎, translated from the Japanese by Hiroaki Sato (New York Review Books)
  • Kalidasa for the 21st Century Reader, translated from the Sanskrit by Mani Rao (Aleph Book Company)
  • Salsa by Hsia Yu 夏宇, translated from the Chinese by Steve Bradbury (Zephyr Press)
  • Something Crosses My Mind by Wang Xiaoni 王小妮, translated from the Chinese by Eleanor Goodman (Zephyr Press)
  • Sorrowtoothpaste Mirrorcream by Kim Hyesoon, translated from the Korean by Don Mee Choi (Action Books)

This year’s judges were Janet Poole, Stephen Snyder, and Lucas Klein.

Mani Rao at HKU: Translating the Bhagavad Gita as a Modern Poem


A talk and reading by Mani Rao about the process and challenges when translating the canonical spiritual text of the Gita.

“Rao’s  version  of  the Bhagavad  Gita unpacks  the  original Sanskrit with a range of avant garde techniques—in prosody, diction, mise-en-page and lineation—rendering a new translation of the well-known philosophical text unlike any before it.” – The Oxford Companion to Modern Poetry, 2013.

“The great virtue of The Bhagavad Gita is courage, and in her luminous new translation, Rao is courageous indeed. Her lines venture to keep pace with the original, stride for stride, revelation for revelation. As Wittgenstein wrote, ‘courage is always original.’ I can avow that Rao’s is the first truly original version of this sacred text to appear in decades.” – Donald Revell

“Mani Rao has transformed the most famous spiritual poem in India to a multi-layered poem … a poem to be perceived directly, intuitively, cutting through reason and linearity to arrive at the underlying undying poetry and grace of this epic work.” – Frederick Smith

Mani Rao is the author of eight poetry books and two books of translation. Mani worked at Star TV Hong Kong for a decade before turning to writing and scholarly pursuits full-time. She has an MFA in creative writing, and is currently doing a PhD in Religious Studies in the USA. has links to her books and writing.

Date and Time: July 14, 2014 (Monday); 5:30-6:45pm
Venue: Room 730, Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus, University of Hong Kong
All are welcome

Issue 16 of Cha

The new issue of Cha is now online. Take a look for poetry by Ricky Garni (“the citizen is in a box, / his body parts fall / from his body. / he watches the / others who are free.”), nonfiction by Chelsea Bainbridge-Donner (“I don’t remember my first train, but my mother does, and she loves to tell the story.”), Mani Rao’s review of new translations of Rabindranath Tagore (“When so much contemporary literature generated in Indian languages goes untranslated, the Tagore phenomenon seems disproportionate. One cannot hold that against a translator, however.”), and more.

I’ll be guest-editing Cha‘s “Ancient Asia Issue,” scheduled to launch August 2013. See also their earlier publication of my translation of five sections from Xi Chuan’s “Thirty Historical Reflections” 鉴史三十章 from their China Issue.