Zero Distance | New Poetry from China
Edited and Translated By Liang Yujing • 2017
ISBN-13: 978-0-9987438-2-0 • $20 ($17 pre-publication sale)
Design by Jeff Sanner Cover Illustration by Zoe Liu
This book consists of 81 poems by 29 poets from China. 23 of them were born after 1970, 15 were born in or after 1980, with the youngest one born in 2006. Editor and translator Liang Yujing, who lives in Wellington, New Zealand, notes that most of the poets have done their writing in the 21st century, and published on-line rather than in the official magazines. They are too young to feel the ravages of Mao’s Cultural Revolution. Anyone curious about poetry in China (especially provincial China) should read this book.
This anthology might be the What Work Is of today’s mainland China: a lyric vernacular for the deadpan and desperate, for the heroic in the mundane. These poems are tender, funny, erotic, forlorn; and they come from the rough hands of poets “fishing out from inside their heads a handful of black ashes.” As Liang says in his introduction to the Chinese poetic landscape: no one cares—and that makes these poets royally free. This is a worthy translation project. The songs collected here are true ones.
— Henry Wei Leung
For younger generations of poets in China, the digital age has been nothing short of transformative, offering not only new modes of publishing and consuming poetry, but new ways of imagining and building literary community. In this anthology, editor Liang Yujing offers readers a glimpse into some of the most vibrant conversations taking place in these transformed spaces. Featuring a majority of new poets (born after 1980) with a few more seasoned poets woven in, this volume will be of great interest to all who want to hear more from China’s emerging poets.
— Jonathan Stalling
Zero Distance brings us close to the contemporary life in China through mostly colloquial Chinese of 29 poets and equally colloquial, though at times idiosyncratic, English translations of Liang Yujing. Each poem acts as a crystal, bearing witness to our time with personalized details and nakedness. By putting them together Liang has skillfully constructed a kaleidoscope capable of sharp images, vivid colors and with full vitality. Take her home and your world will be enriched.
— Zhang Er