Ripened Wheat: Selected Poems of Hai Zi
By Hai Zi
Translated from the Chinese by Ye Chun
(The Bitter Oleander Press)
Hai Zi is one of China’s most beloved poets, whose suicide at the age of 25, just months before the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, catapulted him to a fame that is almost mythic in proportions. Although his poetic oeuvre is relatively small, his archetypal descriptions of a rural and natural world now virtually extinguished by industrialization, have a lyric intensity that is richly evocative:
arise along the dirt wall
Cow bells dinging
Auntie brings my nephews over
They stand in front of me
like two charcoal sticks
Sunlight is in fact very strong
Whip and blood for all that grows!
Ye Chun is not the first translator to represent Hai Zi’s poetry in English, but her generous selection of poems and informative preface provide an excellent introduction to this marvelous poet.
I’ve heard this is one of the best trasnations of Hai Zi’s works. But it’s hard to find in the US. Amazon has one copy for 800 dollars. Translations of Hai Zi into English are few and far between, but he’s one of my favorite poets.