The shadow is drinking water
laughter is imitating
the way the collapse of light
opens up the dawn
The books one travels with
age because of the journey
become anonymous because of the journey
the horse pushing into the stage scenery
You have just arrived at
that person’s place of birth
Fish look up at the city from under water
along with the fresh bait down there
is an unbearable anchor
Bei Dao was born in Beijing in 1949. In 1978, he and Mang Ke co-founded Today (Jintian), the first unofficial literary journal in China since 1949, and he has been chief editor ever since. His work has been translated into more than thirty languages. He has won numerous awards and honors, among them honorary membership of the Academy of American Arts and Letters. He is currently Professor of Humanities at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and lives with his family in Hong Kong.
Clayton Eshleman’s most recent books are: The Complete Poetry of César Vallejo (University of California Press, 2007); Grindstone of Rapport: A Clayton Eshleman Reader (Black Widow Press, 2008); and Anticline (Black Widow Press, 2010).
Lucas Klein is a writer, translator, and editor of “CipherJournal.com”:http://www.cipherjournal.com. His translations, essays, and poems have appeared or are forthcoming at Two Lines, Chinese Literature Today, Jacket, and Drunken Boat, and he regularly reviews books for Rain Taxi and other venues. Now Assistant Professor in the department of Chinese, Translation, and Linguistics at City University of Hong Kong, he is also working on translations of contemporary poet Xi Chuan and the Tang poet Li Shangyin.
Translator Eshleman’s Recommendations:
The Assassinations: Probe Magazine on JFK, MLK, RFK, and Malcolm X edited by James DiEugenio and Lisa Pease.
Trance Archive by Andrew Joron.
Contextual Practice by Stephen Fredman.
Homepage photo by Helen Barff: http://www.helenbarff.co.uk