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

Sun Yisheng / Nicky Harman

Tibet's True Heart

By Lucas Klein, published

In a comment to my post on May 4th & Chinese Literature in Translation, talking about disparities in how different genres of Chinese literature are represented in English, I wrote:

find me one English translation of a single-author collection of poems by a poet living in China.

I was thinking that someone might mention books by Taiwanese poets Shang Qin 商禽 or Hsia Yu 夏宇, both translated by Steven Bradbury (and published by Zephyr Press, a great small press with a large repertoire of translations from the Chinese). And I knew of other works in progress of mainland authors, still awaiting publication.

But I didn't expect that another answer would come from Tibet. This morning I opened my mailbox and found a package sent by A. E. Clark, with a book of his translations of Tibetan-Chinese poet Woeser, Tibet's True Heart, published by Ragged Banner Press.

Woeser writes in Chinese and now lives in Beijing, but her writing is infused with the complexities of her Tibetan cultural background. I haven't yet read Tibet's True Heart, but I look forward to reading Andrew Clark's English versions of her poems.

Sample poems and more recent writing of Woeser can be found on the Ragged Banner website.


# 1.   

Hey Lucas,

I hadn't though about it, but you're right. It is rare to see single-author collections of Chinese-English. Another to add to the list is the recent Starve the Poets by Yi Sha.


Cooper Willis, May 19, 2009, 9:18p.m.

# 2.   

Thanks for the Yi Sha 伊沙 tip-off; I've just picked up the book, & look forward to reading it. More about Yi Sha and sample translations can be found here

One reason that we don't have many single-author collections of Chinese poetry in English translation is because of the preponderance of anthologies. Of course, anthologies are as difficult as translations, and often fail for the same reasons. But while anthologies are supposed to pave the way for more publications of translations of the poets included, in our publishing world they usually end up standing in the way. I'm adopting this argument from Cris Mattison, translator and editor at Zephyr Press.


Lucas , May 23, 2009, 10:13a.m.

# 3.   

Whoops, Lucas, the link for Yi Sha doesn't work.

 Canaan Morse, May 28, 2009, 12:29p.m.

# 4.   

Delete the trailing slash and it'll load.

jdmartinsen, May 28, 2009, 8:23p.m.

# 5.   

Yes, the trailing slash gets in the way.

Try this.

or just this: http://china.poetryinternationalweb.org/piw_cms/cms/cms_module/index.php?obj_id=976


Lucas , May 29, 2009, 9:41a.m.


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