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  • October Dedications 十月的獻詩

October Dedications 十月的獻詩

Mang Ke.Edited by Lucas Klein.Translated from Chinese by Lucas Klein, Huang Yibing, and Jonathan Stalling

English, Chinese , 2018/04 Jintian Series of Contemporary Literature The Chinese University of Hong Kong Press

Tags: Literature, Poetry, Jintian Series of Contemporary Literature

203 x 153 x 11 mm , 126pp ISBN / ISSN : 978-962-996-550-1

  • US$18.00

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“With this decades-spanning collection, Mang Ke is now visible to a general western audience, giving us a more complete picture of Chinese poetry during and since the Cultural Revolution. Mang Ke’s poems are radical in their immediacy, exploring the vexed space between public world and private experience, honing in on the gap between with sometimes uncanny directness. He delivers a simple, fact-based blow to Beijing policies in lines like: “My city, your wide eyes in the face of starving children / you are that cold / that dispassionate.” But a more common theme here is the nature of identity, or, to be specific, how we are never precisely ourselves. Such self-alienation appears in an early poem: “sometimes I go shout in the valley / and when the valley sends back my voice / my voice / shocks my heart,” and again in the long final poem in this book: “It’s not me seeing the sunlight / overrun your head like a swarm of bees / my seeing you falling asleep / is not me seeing you fall asleep.” Mang Ke’s work, from first to last, is bold, seemingly simple, yet syntactically unstable, strange. I don’t think I have ever read anything quite like it. We should be grateful to Lucas Klein for the excellent work he has done to make it available.”

—Rae Armantrout


“Mang Ke is a genius amongst contemporary Chinese poets. In a dark age, his early lyric poems were unparalleled—translucent, profound, and enchanting. They influenced an entire generation, and without a doubt our style of poetry was his invention.”

—Bei Dao

As a co-founder of the PRC’s first unofficial literary journal Jintian (Today) in 1978, Mang Ke was born in 1950. He began writing poetry as a sent-down youth in Baiyangdian, rural Hebei province, during the Cultural Revolution. One of the progenitors of what would later be called Obscure or “Misty” poetry, his spare, impressionistic poems were among the first to break free of the imposed discourse of Maoism towards an image-based literary style that left space for both expression and interpretation. He currently makes his living as an abstract painter and lives in Songzhuang, an artists’ colony on the outskirts of Beijing.

Lucas Klein is a translator and Assistant Professor in the Department of Chinese, Translation & Linguistics at City University of Hong Kong. He co-translated Endure: Poems by Bei Dao (Black Widow, 2011) and his translations of Xi Chuan have recently been published by New Directions as Notes on the Mosquito.

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