Two weeks ago, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung published my article on the poet Nan Ren 南人 (scroll to p. 5; there are a few minor mistakes in the German article, I couldn’t see the final print version before it came out: the first poem has one line added; and Shaanxi became Shanxi). I have decided to write a version in English to post here. This is a newspaper article, so there are no footnotes. The reference to Maghiel van Crevel was not included in the print version. I have thought about many names of other poets I should have mentioned, and other things I should have said. Anyway, such a publication in a major daily in Germany is a big success, a big deal in international exposure for current Chinese poetry. I hope you like it. Please send feedback via email, thank you!
Martin Winter <email@example.com>
Sources: Here is a link to the poems in the article including the original Chinese versions. And here are the paintings by Huang Li 黄丽 that accompany the poems in the book. The pictures look much better in the book. Nan Ren has sent them to me in high resolution. He and Xiron have authorized me to look for publishers in Europe and beyond. I hope to find publishers for the German speaking and for the English speaking Pawnshop. Here is a link to about 50 poems in Chinese with some translations in English or German. Here is a link to the announcement from last May, when the book was published in China. The publisher is Xiron Poetry Club, 磨铁读诗会. Xiron is a big publisher, led by the poet Shen Haobo 沈浩波. But Xiron is private and has to purchase an ISBN for each book from a state publisher. The state publisher is on the cover, Xiron Poetry Club is on the first page. Both have to avoid publishing anything that could get the book pulled or forbidden.
IN A PAWNSHOP OF PAIN
By Martin Winter
Nan Ren is a legend. He doesn’t like to say when he was born. 1970, found that somewhere. Not important. Nan Ren is a pen name. The nán of ‘south‘ and the rén of ‘person‘. What does that mean? His family comes from the south, somewhere south of the Long River, the Yangtse. Nanren, southern people, was the lowest stratum in the Mongol empire. The Mongols captured the south last, all the better jobs had been assigned to other people already. Almost every poet writing in Chinese has a pen name. People have more than one name in Chinese, even non-artists. It was that way in Confucius‘ times. And in the occident, in the antique, people also had several names, at least prominent people, all the way from Homer. Continue reading