We are pleased to announce the publication of a new translation of Lu Xun’s Weeds (野草), the first in English since the Yangs’ monumental translation, by poet and translator Matt Turner. Featuring an introduction my professor Nick Admussen, and woodcuts by the artist Monika Lin. Seaweed Salad Editions, a small press in Shanghai, is the publisher.
No one here needs an introduction to the work of Lu Xun, but here are what some people had to say about the translation:
Weird syntactical swerves, psychological scratch loops, and rocket trajectories characterize these poems. Certainly, they never yield to Western Modernism’s economies. Instead, Lu Xun’s oneiric imagery is ever chocked and gusty; unexpected pronouns pop up like masked faces at a window. It would take a poet-translator as deft, daring, and refractory as Matt Turner to take on the sarcasm, playfulness, mystery, and aggressive invention of these poems in Chinese. If ever the worms of boredom have settled into your heart, this is the book that will draw them out, unthread them through your pores, and leave them to dangle until “they squint at each other and, slowly, slowly, scatter.”
–FORREST GANDER, PULITZER PRIZE WINNER IN POETRY
As the literary embodiment of China’s soul, Lu Xun has gone through many reincarnations in the form of translation. Matt Turner’s new rendition of Weeds (until now known as Wild Grass) is a daring leap across the linguistic abyss. Like a magnanimous host making room for a persnickety guest, Turner’s English is a generous accommodation for the pique, pout, and poetics of the wild and protean imagination of a Chinese master.
–YUNTE HUANG, EDITOR OF THE BIG RED BOOK OF MODERN CHINESE LITERATURE
Like Shakespeare, the fact that Lu Xun used a particular turn of phrase is sufficient to establish that phrase as part of modern standard Chinese. His readers at the time encountered some of his writing,Weeds included, with bafflement and wildly varying interpretations. This translation emphasizes that generative uncertainty. It cares more about what the collection could mean than what it must. In this way, the translation carries across the sense of the openness of the future that energized and terrified Chinese intellectuals in the early twentieth century.
–NICK ADMUSSEN, FROM THE INTRODUCTION TO WEEDS
Posted by: Matt Turner <firstname.lastname@example.org>