Belatedly I mention this wonderful project edited by Chris ‘Kit’ Kelen and Jo You Chengcheng published in Macau in December 2012 by ASM. Chris Kelen has lived and taught in Macau for several years now and is constantly involved with translation alongside his own work as a poet and visual artist (the cover is his work). The book is an anthology of Australian and New Zealand poets directed at English-speaking Chinese translators. Each poem has notes (of widely varying length) made by the poets in the hope of facilitating translation. The notes tackle unfamiliar idioms and usages that could prove obscure but they also go some way towards giving a sense of where the poets felt the work was heading. It’s an interesting and timely exercise. Kelen had previously edited an anthology of translations (Fires Rumoured About the City). I have work in both of these volumes. Having no Chinese I can’t judge translations of my own or others poems in Fires but I’ve felt encouraged by the English translations of Chinese work done in other publications by many of the young poets at work here.
Friday, 28 February 2014
There are writers who seem to keep everything including receipts and others who systematically destroy any data outside the published work itself. On this spectrum there are those who hold onto some material and those who tend to lose or misplace things (like John Forbes). I fit somewhere in the retentive end though I can understand those who want nothing but the authorized work to be available. Most of us will leave at least some work out of later collections: this is how we wish to present ourselves. At the same time anyone can go back and find the discarded items if they want to, and I have no problem with this. With writers whose work I love I want to see as much as I possibly can; even the failures can be of interest. But if I had to put together an edition of another author’s work I would feel (unless the edition was ‘scholarly’) that I was doing the author a disservice in including second-rate work.
Wednesday, 26 February 2014
Another issue of Pete Spence’s ETZ has appeared (with the next one on the way). This one has photos by Bernard Hemensley on the cover. ETZ, if Pete doesn’t mind my saying so, belongs to a great Australian tradition of ‘ratbag’ magazines. By this I mean other long running low-tech productions like Rae Desmond Jones’s Your Friendly Fascist and Pi O’s 925. All of these mags punche(d) well above their weight and are worth tracking down for much of the work that appears within. Each has, to a greater or lesser degree (greater with YFF, lesser with ETZ) a retro appearance that was/is a challenge to the reader. If you couldn’t stand the heat you needed to stay well away from the kitchen.