Yours Truly & Other Poems

Xi Chuan, the pen name of Liu Jun, a poet, essayist, and translator, was born in 1963 in Jiangsu province, and graduated from the English Department of Peking University in 1985. He has published four collections of poems, including A Fictitious Family Tree (1997) and Roughly Speaking (1997), two books of essays, and one book of criticism, in addition to a play and translations ranging from Ezra Pound to Jorge Luis Borges to Czeslaw Milosz.

Lucas Klein—a former radio DJ and union organizer—is a writer, translator and editor at CipherJournal.com. He is Assistant Professor in the Department of Chinese, Translation & Linguistics at City University of Hong Kong. Endure, a small collection of Bei Dao poems translated with Clayton Eschleman, is now out from Black Widow Press.

yourstruly

Yours Truly & Other Poems
By Xi Chuan • Translated by Lucas Klein • October 2011 • $3
Design by Eric Butler

“Drink a bellyful of cold water and you’ll drown all the voices in your head,” writes Xi Chuan. Harder to quiet the voices one hears echoing from Xi’s new chapbook. The poet over-hears and over-sees; these poems are shards of the zeitgeist overheard through as many walls as you can construct against your noisy neighbor’s television set. The title poem reveals Xi Chuan’s Whitmanian reach; turn over in your bed and he will be the presence beside you. If you want to sample the work of an important contemporary Chinese poet, this chapbook provides an excellent place to start.

from “somebody”:

Spring stays inside the hat
Autumn stays inside the blouse
Morning stays on the treetops
Evening stays in the shithole

The barren mountain stays on the barren mountain
Jadeite water stays in the teapot
The mansion stays on the map
The poor stay in the gutter

Three pounds of ink stay in the intestines
50 grams of sweat stay in the bloodstream
Spit stays outside the store
Foul language stays on ivory

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Read translator Lucas Klein’s blog on Xi Chuan and Klein’s essay on translating Xi Chuan’s poetry.

See the page on Xi Chuan at New Directions.

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