Sunday, August 2, 2015

Translations of Book and Interview Transcript by Chinese Poet Huang Xiang

Last year I completed my translation of Huang Xiang's book The Thunder of Deep Thought. The advance edition came out in October 2014 in time for the 10th anniversary of City of Aslyum/Pittsburgh where Huang Xiang was artist in residence for two years. This is a link to an interview with Huang Xiang about the book and his other art work that is on the publisher's website  (Huang Xiang video).

The book is now available on Amazon.

Huang Xiang is a poet, calligrapher, and painter. He painted this painting for the cover of the book, and the calligraphy on the cover is a free-form poem.

This is my translation of the calligraphy poem on the painting:
Ice Blue Poetry
by Huang Xiang
            In the days before it was covered with ice and snow and after it was covered with ice and snow and while it is covered with ice and snow or while the ice and snow are melting due to climate change, it has always remained the same planet, hanging and turning in time and space, the same great Earth under the same orb of the sun, where humanity has lived or is living, and from which humanity will disappear in the end.
            In the time and space apart from time and space, who were the earliest visitors to the ice blue world? Who can interpret the mysterious meaning of the ice and snow? Who has discovered the inexplicable, hidden secrets of civilization under the vast layers of ice? I believe that the past, present, and future of different times and spaces are all the same moment of now. The earth and sun both belong to the ultimate meaning of the same ball of ice.
--Translated by Teresa Zimmerman-Liu

Huang Xiang is probably best known in Chinese history for posting one of his poems in big character posters in Beijing and thus sparking the 1987 Democracy Wall Movement. He was recently interviewed about the Democracy Wall and about his work. I translated the transcript of that interview, and he gave me permission to disseminate it. If you are interested in obtaining a copy of my translation of the transcript, email me, and I'll send you a copy. 

You can find information about Huang Xiang's cross-cultural Century Mountain Project by following this link. He has done this project in collaboration with William Rock. 


Cloudia said...

That translation must have approximated the non-linear, non-western-logic experience of the poem to one literate in the language. I certainly feel like I experienced it as a real poem.

I'm not just proud of a friend's obvious and serious accomplishment, but touched by the poem through your translation.

I didn't grasp the significance of your work fully till now, though I always knew that it was important.

Congratulations, Teresa

Teresa said...

Thanks for your words of support, Cloudia!

Small Kucing said...

though am chinese but am what they term as "Banana chinese"m. Cant read chinese . It's good that there are people who help to translate :)

baili said...

Great and wonderful job you are doing here .liked your writing and sharing

Kasztanowy Domek said...

Great work! :)