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  • Floral Mutter (Simplified Chinese and English) 花的低語

Floral Mutter (Simplified Chinese and English) 花的低語

Ya Shi 啞石‧Translated from Chinese by Nick Admussen


English, Chinese , 2020/03 Jintian Series of Contemporary Literature The Chinese University of Hong Kong Press

Tags: Literature, Jintian Series of Contemporary Literature

204 x 150 mm , 136pp ISBN : 978-988-237-183-5

  • US$15.00


In Stock

The JINTIAN [今天] series of contemporary literature features new and innovative writing from mainland China and abroad. Titles in the series are edited by Bei Dao, Lydia H. Liu, and Christopher Mattison.

A collaborative venture between Zephyr Press, the Jintian Literary Foundation, and The Chinese University Press, each bilingual title highlights the ever-changing literary culture of China while simultaneously expanding the English language with a wave of new voices in translation.


“This collection of poems is an amazing clash of classical Chinese poetry, the New York School, postmodern cinema, and the inside of a singular heart-head. ‘Don’t worry. I’ve got no evidence here that can harm you,’ Ya Shi says, and it’s true, I’m not harmed by his tentative relationship with nature in his experimental sonnets, I’m not harmed by his dark humor or his fragmentary leaps into surprise. I’m too invested. Ya Shi deserves the ‘cardiac bang bang of literary fame’ he fears, and to Nick Admussen a ‘vast sky’ of praise for bringing these bright poems into a daring, crisp, riveting English. These poems, born anew in translation, are scary fun to read.”

—Jennifer Kronovet, editor, Circumference Books and author of The Wug Test


“Ya Shi’s poetry stands out as something quite unique in Chinese circles, which may be related to his background in mathematics. His lines can be reserved, intricate, and lush; but they can also boldly assert themselves with the brash music of the [Sichuan] topolect. Ya Shi’s writing emphasizes the particularity, artistry, and ‘appetite’ (Ya Shi’s term) of poetic language itself. He roams freely among traditional poetic language, the aesthetics of the Xueyuan [‘Academic’] poetry school, and the slanginess of the Minjian [‘Popular’] school, brewing out of these a linguistic melange, while also balancing the relationship [of language] with theme. By synthesizing these diverse explorations and experiments, Ya Shi displays in his collections of verse a poetic voice that is richly individual.”

—Zhai Yongming, author of The Changing Room

Ya Shi (啞石) was born in 1966 and raised in the Tuanbu Village Commune in China’s Sichuan province. He graduated with a mathematics degree from Peking University in 1987, and began writing poetry in 1990. Since then, he founded and edited the underground magazine Poetry Mirror, won the Chinese Young Poet’s Prize, the Liu Li’an Prize, and the Stars Poet of the Year Prize.

His works include Selected Poems of Ya Shi, Carved Insects, Silk Road, The Wind Follows Its Own Meaning, As Poems, and Spark Hotel.

Today, Ya Shi lives in Chengdu, where he teaches university mathematics. 

Nick Admussen is an associate professor of Chinese Literature and Culture at Cornell University. He is the author of the scholarly monograph Recite and Refuse: Contemporary Chinese Prose Poetry, and is also the author of five chapbooks of original poetry, including Stand Back, Don’t Fear the Change.

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Please click here to download the pdf.


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