for thirty years
every single year
spring days waning
cicadas come calling
that one day
come out in the streets
light candles for us
observe our memory
they do not forget
the only city on earth
Translated by Martin Winter, 6/15/19
“I don’t dare to share this poem in my WeChat groups. Unfortunately, most people in mainland China have no idea at all what happens abroad. They don’t know anything. Least of all that Hong Kong is a very special city with a great heart full of love and freedom. And for us Chinese people, that single one city on earth is slowly disappearing.”–Translated by MW, 6/15/19 Continue reading
you don’t have to take part
of course you don’t dare since long ago
you don’t have to support it
of course you don’t dare either
but please don’t deride
please keep some respect
for the last bit of good
in your fearful heart
long tamed into submission
please don’t hang your head from far away
don’t say with a sigh
“what use is this?
this is no use.”
even if you have been steeped in desperation
you should know
this is not a question of useful or not.
June 2019, shared on WeChat
Translated by Martin Winter, June 2019 Continue reading
Source: New Haven Independent (6/7/19)
Art Of Darkness
By BRIAN SLATTERY
Fiona Sze-Lorrain and Fritz Horstman
The words are surrounded by billows of shade that could be smoke, or clouds, or particles moving through water. The color seems both kinetic and serene at the same time, capturing light and shadow. The words are written by hand: “Scooping up handfuls of fresh / silence from a mirror of oblivion, / I gather from the well / that night disguises his guests. / It pleases him that wind / must wait. Even rain. Misled / the tempered dark takes a false / step. So many shadows. / So few ghosts — I was lonely / but curious / in this imperfect end.”The above poem-painting is one of several pieces in “A Blue Dark,” a collaboration between Paris-based poet, translator, and Zheng harpist Fiona Sze-Lorrain and Connecticut-based artist Fritz Horstman running now at the Institute Library on Chapel Street through Sept. 7, with a guided walk-through by Horstman on June 9. Continue reading
The Nuosu Book of Origins: A Creation Epic from Southwest China
TRANSLATED BY MARK BENDER AND AKU WUWU FROM A TRANSCRIPTION BY JJIVOT ZOPQU (University of Washington Press, 2010). 296 pp., 17 bandw illus., 1 map, 6 x 9 in.
$30.00S PAPERBACK (9780295745695)
$95.00X HARDCOVER (9780295745688)
The Nuosu people, who were once overlords of vast tracts of farmland and forest in the uplands of southern Sichuan and neighboring provinces, are the largest division of the Yi ethnic group in southwest China. Their creation epic plots the origins of the cosmos, the sky and earth, and the living beings of land and water. This translation is a rare example in English of Indigenous ethnic literature from China. Continue reading
MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of Liu Na’ou’s “Scenery,” translated by Travis Telzrow. The translation appears below and at its online home: http://u.osu.edu/mclc/online-series/scenery/.
Kirk Denton, editor
By Liu Na’ou 劉吶鷗
Translated by Travis Telzrow
MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright June 2019)
Cover of the original edition of Scenes from the Metropolis.
People were sitting on speed. Fields flew by. Streams flew by. Thatched cottages, stone bridges, willow trees; every piece of scenery existed in the eyes for just a split-second before vanishing. But here in Ranqing’s hands was a newspaper smelling of fresh oil, its pages covered with typed letters aligned like soldiers in the Roman legion that bounced along with the train’s easy back-and-forth rocking as the morning sun shone on them through the car’s window. Ranqing was hoping to obtain some information about a very important conference being held in Xindu on Monday, so he was being whisked away from that dimly-lit editorial office, which reeked of oil and paper, on this early morning express train. Continue reading
Source: LARB, China Channel (5/27/19)
Socialist Literature for the Capitalist Era
By Dylan Levi King
Dylan Levi King reviews Empires of Dust by Jiang Zilong
Jiang Zilong’s novel Empires of Dust, newly translated by Olivia Milburn and Christopher Payne, is unlike anything else published in translation from Chinese in the past decade or so. Jiang, a 78-year-old native of Hebei Province, made a name for himself with A Day in the Life of the Chief of the Electrical Equipment Bureau (机电局长的一天), a 1976 novella first criticized for revisionism and then praised as the future of Chinese literature. Decades later, in 2008, came Empires of Dust (农民帝国), a sprawling epic of modern Chinese history that can only be defined as capitalist realism.
Jiang comes from the same literary background that produced established names such as Mo Yan, Yan Lianke and Jia Pingwa. All of those writers got their start with politically-approved hack work, too. But while they went in other directions, Jiang Zilong continued to write in a literary style codified in the 1950s. Although he published most of his major works in the 1980s and 1990s, and Empires of Dust in the mid-2000s, Jiang is something of a living literary fossil. To understand his work, one has to step back to the era of socialist realism and revolutionary romanticism. Continue reading
MCLC and MCLC Resource Center are pleased to announce publication of John B. Weinstein’s review of I Love XXX and Other Plays, by Meng Jinghui, edited by Claire Conceison. The review appears below and at its online home http://u.osu.edu/mclc/book-reviews/john-weinstein/. My thanks to Michael Berry, MCLC book review editor for translations, for ushering the review to publication.
Kirk Denton, editor
By Meng Jinghui
Edited by Claire Conceison
Reviewed by John B. Weinstein
MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright February, 2019)
Meng Jinghui, I Love XXX and Other Plays Ed. Claire Conceison. New York: Seagull Books, 2017. Viii+355 pp.+DVD. $45.00 ISBN 9780857423849
I nearly encountered Meng Jinghui’s 孟京辉 play Longing for Worldly Pleasures (思凡) in 1998, when I arrived in Beijing for a few weeks of research for my dissertation on the development of modern comic drama in China. When I met with a theater official in Beijing, I asked what I should see while there; although I cannot recall what he did ultimately suggest I see, I do recall him showing me a program or poster or some such artifact for a production called Longing for Worldly Pleasures. That, he noted, was what I should have seen, but its run was already over. Had I only planned the trip better.
What I did not yet know, and maybe no one truly knew, though perhaps this official surmised it, was that Meng Jinghui would become THE big thing in Chinese drama in the coming years, and his work, though by no means strictly comedy—and by no means strictly any one thing—might have formed the ending of my research project. To this date, while I have been fortunate enough to see the English-language adaptation of Head without Tailreferenced in the volume’s introduction, and even more fortunate to spend an evening hanging out with Meng himself in his hotel room in Boston, I have never seen a production of Meng’s work within China itself. Can a volume of English translations of Meng Jinghui’s work compensate? Continue reading
Source: NeoCha (5/22/19)
Reading the World
By Allen Young
Four times a year, a compact paperback with a simple cover hits Chinese bookstores, its pages filled with essays, notes, interviews, long-form nonfiction, book reviews, poetry and short stories by some of the most spirited voices from China and abroad. One-Way Street Magazine, as the quarterly is known in English—the Chinese name Dandu name might be translated as “independent reading” or “reading alone”—is a journal that thinks books and ideas are worth arguing about, and for the past ten years it’s created a small but vital space for intellectual debate. Highbrow but unpretentious, it’s a platform for opinions, articles of faith, and moments of doubt—in short, a public conversation about cultural life.
Printed on the cover of every issue is the journal’s English motto, “We read the world,” while underneath a line in Chinese adds: “A source for worldwide youth thought.” One-Way Street aims to put writers from around the globe in dialogue with their Chinese counterparts. “We’re a journal that grew out of a bookstore, and reading has always been our primary vehicle for knowledge,” says Wu Qi, the editor-in-chief. “And in a globalized age, we want the object of that knowledge to be the entire world.” Each issue ends with a handful of capsule reviews of new and noteworthy titles that haven’t yet appeared in Chinese. Recently they’ve covered books by Martha Nussbaum, Rachel Cusk, Timothy Snyder, and Teju Cole, among many others, and though there’s a distinct Anglophone bias, this section epitomizes the journal’s mission: to read deep and wide and to respond in a reflective, critical spirit.
Xi Jinping has the set of the Red Sorghum tv series destroyed because he doesn’t like Mo Yan’s realism? Is there anything to this story?–kirk
Source: Independent Chinese Pen Center (5/12/19)
诺贝尔文学奖得主莫言的小说《红高粱家族》于1988年被导演张艺谋改编成电影，由巩俐主演；2013年再被拍成电视剧，由郑晓龙执导，周迅主演，剧组更在山东省高密市搭建影视城，具浓厚的中国乡村文学气息，于2016年成为国家3A级旅游景区。不过，关注内地人权及宗教的网媒《寒冬》报道，《红高粱》电视剧影视城的部份建筑于今年3月尾一夜间被拆毁，有指影城被强拆，是因为国家主席习近平不悦莫言写实；官方打压文艺界，有民众担忧文革再起。 Continue reading
Taiwanese writer Wu Ming-yi joins 2019 PEN World Voices Festival
The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York is pleased to announce that Taiwanese writer Wu Ming-yi will join two events at the 2019 Pen America World Voices Festival in New York from May 6 to 12.
Tuesday, May 7, 6:30-8:00 pm
“Meditations on War, presented with The Guardian”
Venue: Albertine (972 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10075)
Wu joins Laurent Gaudé (Hear Our Defeats) and Sinan Antoon (The Book of Collateral Damage) for a discussion on how humanity endures the memories of war and struggles to rebuild. Moderated by Julian Borger, world affairs editor for The Guardian.
Thursday, May 9, 6:30-10:00 pm
“Literary Quest: Westbeth Edition”
Venue: Westbeth Artists Housing and Center for the Arts (55 Bethune St., New York, NY 10014)
Salon-style readings and discussions led by Festival authors at the Westbeth Center for the Arts. Wu will read selected passages from his book The Stolen Bicycle.
For more information, please visit PEN World Voices Festival.
Posted by: Yu-Kai Lin firstname.lastname@example.org
When the 100th anniversary of the May Fourth Movement approaches, I’m pleased to announce that my book Contending for the Chinese Modern: The Writing of Fiction in the Great Transformative Epoch of Modern China 1937-1949 (604 pp.), published by Brill, has gone to the printer and will be available soon. This book studies the writing of fiction in 1940s China. Through a practice of political hermeneutics of fictional texts and social subtexts, it explores how social modernity and literary modernity intertwined with and interacted upon each other in the development of modern Chinese literature. It not only makes critical reappraisement of some renowned modern Chinese writers, but also sheds fresh lights on a series of theoretical problems pertaining to the issue of plural modernities, in which the problematic of subjectivity, class consciousness and identity politics are the key words as well as the concrete procedures that it undertakes the ideological analysis. –Xiaoping Wang <email@example.com> Continue reading
Source: The New Yorker (4/30/19)
Liu Xia Rebuilds Her Career as an Artist
By Nick Frisch
Photograph above: Marzena Skubatz for The New Yorker; Photographs below: Liu Xia
After nearly a decade under house arrest in Beijing, Liu Xia, the widow of the Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, has started over in exile in Berlin.
The Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo won the Nobel Peace Prize in October of 2010, while imprisoned in Liaoning, a province in China’s northeastern rust belt, for co-authoring an open letter calling for liberal democracy in China. A literary critic, professor, and poet, Liu Xiaobo had been an unwavering voice against the authoritarianism of the Chinese Communist Party for more than two decades. He had served several long prison terms—the first one for being a leader of the Tiananmen Square demonstrations, in 1989—and had been harassed and surveilled continually by the state. Though the Communist Party suppressed his voice, he was widely known within China’s intellectual community and among human-rights activists around the world. When he was awarded the Nobel, for “his long and nonviolent struggle for fundamental human rights,” he became a global celebrity. Unable to reach him in prison, foreign journalists descended on the apartment complex in Beijing where his wife, the artist and poet Liu Xia, lived alone in their home. Continue reading
I would like to take advantage of this mailing list to announce the publication of my (first) book, Hundred Days’ Literature: Chinese Utopian Fiction at the End of Empire, 1902–1910, published by Brill in its “East Asian Comparative Literature and Culture” series.
Hundred Days’ Literature: Chinese Utopian Fiction at the End of Empire, 1902–1910. Leiden: Brill, 2019 – East Asian Comparative Literature and Culture series, Volume 11. ISBN: 978-90-04-39884-9
From the Editor’s presentation:
In Hundred Days’ Literature, Lorenzo Andolfatto explores the landscape of early modern Chinese fiction through the lens of the utopian novel, casting new light on some of its most peculiar yet often overshadowed literary specimens. The wutuobang or lixiang xiaoshuo, by virtue of its ideally totalizing perspective, provides a one-of-a-kind critical tool for the understanding of late imperial China’s fragmented Zeitgeist. Building upon rigorous close reading and solid theoretical foundations, Hundred Days’ Literature offers the reader a transcultural critical itinerary that links Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward to Wu Jianren’s Xin Shitou ji via the writings of Liang Qichao, Chen Tianhua, Bihe Guanzhuren, and Lu Shi’e. The book also includes the first English translation of Cai Yuanpei’s short story “New Year’s Dream.” Continue reading
Source: LA Review of Books, China Channel (4/22/19)
The Banished Immortal
Rui Zhong reads Ha Jin’s biography of Li Bai
The rumors of how Li Bai (also known as Li Po) met his end are greatly exaggerated. The specifics are murky, ranging from alcohol poisoning to drowning while chasing after the moon’s reflection on the surface of a river. It may seem troubling how easily the pertinent details of one of China’s best-known literary icons are lost. However, given that Li often embellished his speech and never liked to stay in one place for too long, his multiple-accounts demise is oddly appropriate.
So begins Ha Jin’s portrait of the famed poet, The Banished Immortal. This title is the latest entry in Jin’s extensive bibliography of poems, short fiction and novels, but The Banished Immortal is his first foray into biography. Jin boasts accolades primarily for his prose works, with deal with the intermingling of politics and ordinary life in 20th-century China, including the National Book Award-winning novel Waiting. In The Banished Immortal, Jin flexes his fiction-writing muscles and his eye for political detail in order to characterize Li Bai’s showboating personality and to discuss how power and social systems worked in the world he inhabited. Continue reading
Gwennaël Gaffric, La Littérature à l’ère de l’Anthropocène. Une étude écocritique autour des œuvres de l’écrivain taïwanais Wu Ming-yi [Literature at the Age of Anthropocene: An Ecocritical Reading of Wu Ming-yi’s Works]
Foreword by Stéphane Corcuff
Asiathèque, Collection « Études formosanes »
Taking an ecocritical approach, Gwennaël Gaffric discusses in this book the literary treatment of ecological issues in Taiwan and beyond. He focuses his study on the works by Wu Ming-yi, a major figure in Taiwanese literary, artistic and militant scenes, but he seeks to expand his presentation by putting in perspective and dialogue texts from other contemporary Taiwanese authors, as well as reflections proposed by thinkers from several disciplines and all geographical horizons. He achieves an impressive synthesis, where ecology becomes an ontology of the relationship between humans and non-humans and an epistemological path to think the Anthropocene. Continue reading