Tuesday, 1 May 2018

may updates: yuan's lit endeavors

30 april 2018 [sunday]

1. just finished translating 《42天功课》(42 Day Spiritual Homework), a series of lessons on meditation or spiritual cultivation, from chinese into english. i enjoyed doing this job greatly for Zhang Xinyue, a famous chinese spiritual mentor, and author of Create Abundance, not only because i got reasonably paid, but more because i like the content and particularly her quotation or poetry-like style.

31,813 words in the source language; 19,895 in the target language. about 150 pages.

2. invited by the english translator of a trilogy by Dimitris Lyacos, an internationally renowned writer of greek origin, i am now trying to organise and supervise the translation of the three books into chinese and eventually get it published by a respectful press in china. as the trilogy is highly avant-garde, it's not easy to find the qualified translator, but functioning to be the project manager and chief proofreader, i will make sure to find the best possible translator and publisher.

no matter what the result will be, this is already a happy surprise because it is the second major project i have taken up simply as a result of my online presence (the first is the ongoing Create Abundance series).

3. today, in a hurry, i received from, and answered two sets of interview questions (five each)  by, South Florida Poetry Journal. some of the questions are really lovely. the editor has just told me to make an exception by publishing all my 10 answers in a couple of days, which i take as an honor. this is the 12th interview i have done as a poetry author. here is the link (for convenient reference or record, i pasted my answers below):


4. got 12 acceptances both for march, and april 2018.

5. one thing interesting to note: last month, an american business entity approached me online, offering me 40 dollars to mention their name or insert their link somehow in our magazine. though the cooperation did not go through in the end,  i am happy to know that our Poetry Pacific is attracting attention even from the business world.

6. another thing worthy of mentioning as well: recently, one of my friends offered to do a wikipedia entry on me, but unfortunately, he told me today he eventually failed to go through all the steps and had to give it up after several days of strenous effort. nevertheless, i keep my fingers crossed for the future.

some successes, some failures, but most import, some efforts along the way...

[note: i will leave canada for my native place in china, again, on 25th may, and have no internet access until late june]


my answers to the questions posed by SFPJ: IWAP

1. When do you give up editing a poem and just start over?

Seldom would I do that. I usually keep editing a poem until i feel more or less satisfied; if not, I would just forget it and throw it into a file-bin. Sometimes, I edit a piece so substantially that it may become a complete new one.

2. Must a poem have a specific meaning? 

Insofar as my writing practice goes, I do not try to make every poem 'meaningful.' An image or sensation itself can be poetic enough.

3. Do you have an audience i mind when you write a poem?

No. i always care about what and how I can write rather than about who will read my poetry.

4. Have you taken workshops from poets you admire? Such as?

Alas, I have never taken a single course or workshop about creative/poetry writing, nor do I ever subject myself to anyone's influence, nor do I even admire any particular poet except some great poems. In other words, I admire poems, not poets.

5. What is the best advice you've received regarding your poetry?

'Keep writing!'

Yuan wanted to also answer the five questions we had asked poets last month for the March issue.

1. When reading a poem aloud, how does, or does, your voice change to compel listeners to listen?

Each time I read my poetry to an audience, I cannot help feeling both excited and nervous. Nervous because of one of my psychological problems: when I began to learn the English alphabet in Shanghai at age nineteen, my teachers and classmates often ridiculed my village accent and thus deeply hurt my pride. I hated the fact that it took me as long as three months to make the distinction in pronunciation between the consonants ‘l’ and ‘n’. Since then, I have had to overcome this long-hidden hurtful and shameful feeling whenever it comes to oral English. Excited because of the challenge I deliberately take: being a shy hermit, I seldom come out of my private world to face a group of strangers. As a result, I don’t sound like myself at all when I perform reading in a louder and dramatic voice to attract attention.

2. How often do you write poetry that taps into your Secrets?  OPTIONAL- Will you give us a brief example?

As often as I dig deeper into my childhood experiences or my personal life. For example, I tend to think my wife has played an important role in turning me into a poetry author (in a similar way Xanthippe supposedly did Socrates into a philosopher, hahaha.) Last year, I wrote ‘On a July Friday Evening’ by drawing upon an extremely private domestic scene. One version of this short poem appears in The Wire’s Dream, a quite new magazine (https://thewiresdreammagazine.wordpress.com/2018/01/18/twd-magazine-3rd-collection-interview-yuan-changming-poetry-contributor/).

3. Have you ever read a poem that has made you angry? If so, what was the poem and who is the poet? 

Not yet.

4. Is there a topic you will not write about? What is it?

I have written poetry almost on every conceivable kind of topic. The only one I have always avoided is, if any, the narration of a story. For me, true poetry is lyric in nature if not by definition, whereas fiction and drama focus mainly upon the (re)presentation of an intriguing plot.

5. Are poets compelled to speak out? If so, what about?

Not necessarily. In articulating his or her innermost feeling, a poet may, rather than should, speak out intentionally or otherwise. As a poetry author – by the way, I never call myself a ‘poet’, I believe that even being apolitical is political enough.

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