Poems of Wu Suzhen, Yue Xuan & Qing Shui
Translated from Chinese by Ouyang Yu and with an introduction by Cui Yuwei
This thirteenth volume in Vagabond Press’ Asia Pacific is a collection of poems by three Chinese women poets, Wu Suzhen, Yue Xuan and Qing Shui. Wu, born in 1981, from Jiangxi in the hinterland of China; Yue, born in 2002, from Wenling by the East China Sea; and Qing, born in 1971, from Shanghai proper.
There is a wide range of themes covered in this book. Traditional streets that are fast disappearing in small towns in Jiangxi, people suffering from depression or madness, old women in bound feet, are what Wu Suzhen are most adept at capturing in her lines. Yue Xuan, the youngest of the three, writes short and pithy poems in a dry, humorous tone, that depict the world in the eyes of a 14-year-old. Qing Shui is lyrically passionate, writing prose poems centred on nature that are sensitive and mesmerizing.
Wu Suzhen, a woman poet, born in Jinxi, Jiangxi province, China, in the 1980s, is a member of Chinese Writers’ Association, whose poetry has been widely published in China. To date, she has published two collections of poetry, Seeing the Butterflies, published in 2014 by Changjiang Literature and Arts Publishing House, and The Unfinished Journey, published in 2013 by Lijiang Publishing House. The 30 poems published are from her collection of Chinese poems, titled, Raising a Tigress.
Born in February 2002 in Wenling, Zhejiang province, China, Yue Xuan, currently a student studying at Grade 5 in a primary school, is probably one of the youngest and most prolific girl poets in China. In 2012, she wrote 25 poems in one month and in January 2013, she wrote 47 poems. These poems are selected from that output and some other poems written subsequently. Five of her poems have been included in Breaking New Sky: Contemporary Poetry from China, published by Five Islands Press in 2013. She has been widely published in such literary magazines as Changjiang wenyi (Yangtze Arts and Literature Monthly), Tequ wenxue (Literature of the Special Economic Zone Monthly) and Zhongguo shige (Chinese Poetry Monthly). The 30 poems published here are from her collection of Chinese poems, The Shortness of Eternity.
Qing Shui, whose real name is Zhu Hongli, is from Shanghai, and has been widely published in China, in such literary magazines as Shichao (Wave of Poetry), Shilin (Forest of Poetry), Xingxing (Stars), Zhongguo shiren (Chinese Poets), Shanghai shiren (Shanghai Poets), Shi xuankan (Selected Poetry), Shige yuekan (Poetry Monthly), and Sanwenshi shijie (The World of Prose Poetry), and her work has been included in many anthologies as well. The 30 prose poems published here are from her collection of Chinese prose poems, Night Light at Soft Grass.
Cui Yuwei, born in 1983, is a bilingual poet and translator based in China. In 2007, she completed an MA in English Literature in Wuhan University. She has published poems in Mascara Review and Cordite Poetry Review (AU). Her works of translation appear in Off-the-Coast (US), The Sons of Camus Writers International Journal (CA) and Ajar (Vietnam). Her Chinese poems are widely seen in various literary journals and collections in China. Currently, she works as an English lecturer in Beijing Normal University at Zhuhai in China.
Ouyang Yu, now based in Melbourne, came to Australia in early 1991 and, by late 2016, has published 84 books of poetry, fiction, non-fiction, literary translation and literary criticism in English and Chinese. He also edits Australia’s only Chinese literary journal, Otherland. Ouyang’s poetry has been included in the Best Australian poetry collections for 11 times from 2004 to 2016, including his poetry translations from the Chinese in 2012 and 2013, and has been included in such major Australian collections as The Penguin Anthology of Australian Poetry (2009), The Macquarie PEN Anthology of Australian Literature (2010) and The turnrow Anthology of Contemporary Australian Poetry (2014). He has to date published 5 English novels, The Eastern Slope Chronicle (2002), The English Class (2010), Loose: A Wild History (2011), Diary of a Naked Official (2014) and Billy Sing (2016), and 3 Chinese novels, The Angry Wu Zili (1999 and 2016), Land of Gold-diggers (2014) and A Lonely Night Boat (published in Taiwan in 2016). Ouyang was nominated one of the Top 100 Most Influential Melbournians for 2011 as well as the Top 10 most influential writers of Chinese origin in the Chinese diaspora. He is now the ‘Siyuan Scholar’ and professor of English at Shanghai University of International Business and Economics, China. In 2016, he won an Australia Council grant for writing a book of bilingual poetry and a special award from the Australia-China Council for ‘his contributions to Australian Studies in China through major translations and original works of scholarship’.