Writing for The Poetry Project, Simon Schuchat has reviewed two books of contemporary Chinese poetry in English translation that came out last year, Duo Duo’ 多多 Words as Grain: New and Selected Poems, translated by Lucas Klein, and by Wang Yin’s 王寅 Ghosts City Sea, translated by Andrea Lingenfelter.
Here are two new translations of important and wonderful Chinese poets, by two of the finest contemporary translators of Chinese literature. A northerner and a southerner. One was already adolescent during the Cultural Revolution, the other a primary school student … These two poets speak to the reader, without the formality of direct address in classical poetry, but without losing the paratactic and indeterminate potential of the classical tradition. That acknowledged, both Lucas Klein and Andrea Lingenfelter, consistently achieve the impossible and bring the poetry into English. They recreate voices for the poets themselves, which do not resemble their invisible interpreters.
About Duo Duo in particular, Schuchat says:
his poetry is more than the exile’s lament, and beyond either the hopes of the early reform era or their subsequent crushing first by armed force and then by raging capital. Surrealist poetry, loosely speaking, seeks to produce or transmit an emotional message that resists paraphrase or explanation, jumping over logical connections.
Click the image above for the review in full.