“You’re stepping on my shadow, please back off,” she said.

Sun Yisheng / Nicky Harman

NEA funds contemporary Chinese poetry anthology

http://www.arts.gov/news/news09/china-anthology.html

The National Endowment for the Arts today announced that Copper Canyon Press, an internationally renowned nonprofit literary publisher, will be the U.S. publisher for its International Literary Exchange with the People's Republic of China. NEA International Literary Exchanges support U.S.-based presses in publishing and promoting contemporary anthologies in translation. Based in Port Townsend, Washington, Copper Canyon will receive $117,000 to support the translation, publication, and promotion of a bilingual anthology of work by 30-40 Chinese poets born after 1945.

Expected to be published in spring 2011, the anthology will be edited by award-winning poet and editor Qingping Wang, who also will write the introduction to the volume. The anthology will be co-translated by noted Chinese literature scholars and translators Howard Goldblatt and his wife, Sylvia Li-chun Lin, who jointly received the American Translators Association Translation of the Year award in 1999 for their translation of Notes of a Desolate Man by Taiwanese novelist Chu T'ienwen.

Via Three Percent.

attached to: Howard Goldblatt

Comments

# 1.   

Yes!!

And also No!!

At the same time.

 Eric Abrahamsen, May 9, 2009, 8:15a.m.

# 2.   

I like Copper Canyon Press--had a cool time talking with the previous publisher, Sam Hamill, a few years ago. Hope they choose some good poetry for this one.

Chinamatt, May 9, 2009, 10:19a.m.

# 3.   

Interesting that Copper Canyon received the grant. In Hamill's day they published a lot of translation, but as I understand it have seriously retreated from such endeavors since.

As for the translations, does anyone know if Lin and Goldblatt will do all the translations themselves, or if they'll serve as translation editors coordinating the work of others?

Lucas

Lucas , May 9, 2009, 12:40p.m.

# 4.   

As for the translations, does anyone know if Lin and Goldblatt will do all the translations themselves,

Yes!!

or if they'll serve as translation editors coordinating the work of others?

No!!

 Eric Abrahamsen, May 9, 2009, 2:15p.m.

# 5.   

Bad, bad -- let me repeat: bad -- idea. Any decent poetry anthology needs multiple translators. Especially one that will encompass "30-40 poets born after 1945". 30-40 poets, representing a 60-year span of Chinese literary output? Translated by one couple? I'm pretty sure there's got to be a mistake here. No one could - or should - have that much fucking hubris. I'm so sure we're mistaken that I'm going to e-mail Howard right now and ask. Seriously, kids.

Cindy M. Carter, June 19, 2009, 10:17p.m.

# 6.   

Howard jumped the shark when he agreed to do the "Beijing Doll" translation. His status now as Mingpai translator is simply becoming laughable, and for all the great advances he made for Chinese literature in translation, it is sad that he doesn't want to continue his legacy by working with new translators. Alas, there can only be one Arthur Waley.

It makes me afraid that one day, when I'm old and have some experience, maybe a reputation in my own field, that I'll cling to every opportunity, even if it compromises my credibility and the quality of the very thing I profess to love.

Perhaps the lack of competition for Howard has allowed his ego to swell to the point that his vision is blinded? It makes me even more suspicious that he attends the translation seminars, and still continues to ignore the existence of a talented group of upcoming translators. At the very least, the publisher or the NEA should be stepping in on quality control.

lee, June 20, 2009, 1:24a.m.

# 7.   

I hope I can help quell some of the fears here, resulting from the cited NEA press release.

As the publisher of the book, it has been my understanding all along that this anthology would be the work of many translators, just as the previous NEA international anthologies have been. Over the coming weeks Howard, Sylvia, and CCP will be working in tandem--under Howard and Sylvia's leadership and expertise--to compile an appropriate list of translators. I look forward to that work.

It seems some wires simply got crossed in the press release: there's no conspiracy here, no attempt to fly solo. I think these posts seem a bit unfair to Howard and Sylvia, and I can assure you that in my initial dealings with them, Howard and Sylvia have exhibited none of the "hubris" implied above, and only responsible enthusiasm and caring attention for the job at hand.

I look forward to getting to know more of you and your work in the coming months. We intend for this to be a vital and necessary anthology, and a heathy variety of translators are obviously a part of making that happen.

Thank you for your passionate attention to the matter.

Michael Wiegers, Executive Editor, Copper Canyon Press

Michael Wiegers, June 20, 2009, 12:59p.m.

# 8.   

Boy, did we ever get this WRONG. Mea culpa. I just got an e-mail from Howard setting the record straight - and as you can see from Michael Wiegers' above post, Lin/Goldblatt will be editing the anthology, rather than translating it in its entirety.

The press release was rather misleading, though:

the anthology will be edited by award-winning poet and editor Qingping Wang, who also will write the introduction to the volume. The anthology will be co-translated by noted Chinese literature scholars and translators Howard Goldblatt and his wife, Sylvia Li-chun Lin...

Cindy M. Carter, June 22, 2009, 6:07a.m.

# 9.   

What a relief to be corrected!

Lucas

Lucas , June 22, 2009, 11:52a.m.

# 10.   

@lee:

You know, sometimes people simply have to eat or feed their kids. Of course, that might not be the case for Goldblatt, but not everyone can afford to just pick the "literary" works and turn down popular fiction (if that's what you meant). But you should know your own limits, what kinds of texts you can handle, what suits you or not.

Anna GC, June 25, 2009, 2p.m.

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