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HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR

HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR

Our Spring Translation Choice is In the Same Light, translated and edited by Wong May. Chinese poetry is unique in world literature in that it was written for almost 3,000 years by exiles, and Chinese history can be read in the words of poets. This collection of Tang Dynasty poems spans war and peace, flight and refuge but above all they are plain-spoken, everyday poems which "teach... the literacy of the heart in a barbarous world". Wong May's translations are "quirky, unaffectedly well-informed, capacious". In a vivid afterword, she delves deeper, exploring how these poets lived and wrote in dark times. This translator's journal is accompanied by a further marginal voice, the rhino: "The Rhino 通天犀 in Tang China held a special place," she writes, "(as) a magical being; an original spirit", a fitting guide to China's tumultuous Middle Ages, that were also its Golden Age of Poetry. This is a truly original book of encounters, whose every turn is illuminating and revelatory.

Wong May was born in Chongqing in 1944 China. She was brought up in Singapore by her mother, a classical Chinese poet. She studied English Literature at the University of Singapore and at the Iowa Writers Workshop 1966–68. She now lives in Dublin, where she paints under the name Ittrium Coey and has exhibited in Dublin & Grenoble

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