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Poetry From the June 2011 issue: The Queer Issue II


Narratives of 1960

1960年记事

Grandmother’s last clothing is a reed mat
her coffin a small fishing boat
The year was 1960
She stole a kilo of yellow beans
Those who ordered her to kneel on snail shells
are mostly dead
Those still alive
are also old
Some are tending shops
some sleep
or herd ducks

Translation of   "Yi jiu liu ling nian ji shi. "  Copyright Yang Jian. By arrangement with the author. Translation copyright 2011 by Fiona Sze-Lorrain. All rights reserved.

一张芦席是奶奶的最后一件衣服,

一条小渔船是奶奶的棺材。

那是1960年,

奶奶偷了两斤黄豆。

那些命令我奶奶跪螺丝壳的人,

大部分都死了。

活着的

也老了。

有的在开小店,

有的在打瞌睡,

有的,在放鸭子……




Yang JianYang Jian

Born in Anhui Province in 1967, Yang Jian worked as a factory laborer for thirteen years before writing poetry during the mid-eighties. Recognized as one of the greatest living Chinese poets, Yang Jian writes in the tradition of pastoral poetry. The author of Remorse (2009), Ancient Bridge (2007), and Dusk (2003)—rated as one of the top ten national poetry titles of the year, his honors include the Yiu Li’an Poetry Award, the Rougang Poetry Prize, the Yulong Poetry Prize and the Chinese Media Literature Award. Also a prolific ink and wash painter, he leads a Buddhist life in Ma’anshan, Anhui.

Translated from ChineseChinese by Fiona Sze-LorrainFiona Sze-Lorrain

Fiona Sze-Lorrain co-directs Vif éditions (www.vif-editions.com), an independent French publishing house in Paris, and co-edits  Cerise Press (www.cerisepress.com). Author of Water the Moon (Marick Press, 2010), she is a zheng concertist. She writes and translates in French, English, and Chinese.