Over at ALTAlk, the blog for the American Literary Translators Association, Matt Rowe has posted a Links Round-up of some of the news & articles focusing on translation that have been circulating recently. It’s a great compilation of Events, Readings, Reviews, and more, and includes my review of Zhai Yongming’s 翟永明 Changing Room, translated by Andrea Lingenfelter, Paper Republic‘s Eric Abrahamsen on the ups & downs of Chinese translation, a report from the London Book Fair by Publishing Perspectives on The “gatekeepers” of literary translation, and more. Take a look!
Italian translator Matt Rowe attended the recent Xi Chuan / Zhou Zan reading, and offered the following write-up:
Xi Chuan and Zhou Zan read on Saturday 1 October in Port Townsend, the second stop on their U.S. tour for the new anthology Push Open The Window. The audience was small but enthusiastic.
Xi Chuan opened the evening by reading (in Chinese and then English) poems by Mang Ke, Qing Ping, Yi Sha, and his friend Hai Zi, introducing each selection and placing it in the context of the revival of Chinese poetry after the Cultural Revolution. Zhou Zan, editor of the women’s poetry journal Wings, then came to the stage and read selections from women poets including Zhai Yongming; Canadian-American poet Heather McHugh, in attendance, stepped up to read the English translations (though Zhou Zan’s English sounded just fine). The poets then returned to the stage to read their own poetry.
Throw out your preconceptions based on classical Chinese poetry. These poets are translators of everyone from Dante to Milosz and Sontag, and their work has echoes of Dickinson, Whitman, Williams, and many more recent poets. Zhou Zan’s extended metaphor in “Wings” is the equal of any of her American or European feminist counterparts, while Xi Chuan’s “Exercises in Thought” is a maddeningly involuted prose poem that brings to mind Borges or Pessoa.
If you can make it to one of the four remaining stops on the tour, this is an evening not to be missed.