This paper explores aspects of translating J. H. Prynne’s poetry into Chinese in relation to notions of difficulty and resistance. Through juxtaposing two poems by Prynne and the Tang Dynasty poet Du Fu, the paper argues that translating Prynne alerts the reader-translator to the very nature of poetic figuration. Poetic writing and translating have to do with (re)imagining the actual as contingent possibilities of the real, which is in principle not fully accessible or figurable. The in-betweenness of the two languages in translation constitutes an outside to both. The relative autonomy of this non-place encourages intercultural translation as a potentialisation of the actual.