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  • Snow in Ulan Bator
  • Jiang Tao (bio)
    Translated by Tony Barnstone (bio) and Ming Di (bio)

Monday morning I got up early, thinking I was home,scrounged a drink of water in the bathroom,turned my socks inside out and slipped them onas if what happened last night was nothing.

But it's snowing outside. After only one nightthe grassland retreats in haste,exposing a great cluster of Japanese carssinking into bottomless mud. This

I'm actually already familiar withIt's been this way for more than a century, from Tokyo to Beijing,and now again here.Straight-nosed wide-mouthed commuters,

their faces exhausted from stuffing themselveswith potatoes cooked in the freezing wind,are going to work now, shotguns on their shouldersreplaced by a forest of black umbrellas.

But I'm still in my underwear,switching quickly between BBC and CNN.The white-haired anchorman always looked arrogant,but now he speaks proletarian English.

I'm skeptical, understanding half of what he says.I guess that a great shift might come—but not local mountains becoming golden hillsnor Pyongyang turning into Beijing. [End Page 49]

I sense that what was loomingis coming, so I decide to get dressed, go downstairsand join the crowded Far East poetry festivaland during my reading throw in some foreign words

like "Black Monday" and stuff like that,implying: this good snow, isn't it just in time? [End Page 50]

Jiang Tao

Jiang Hao 蒋浩 was born in Sichuan province in 1971. His books include a volume of essays and four poetry collections. His first book, Rhetorics (2005), won the Tendency Literature Award that year. He lives on Hainan Island.

Tony Barnstone

Tony Barnstone is a professor of English and environmental studies at Whittier College. A prolific poet, author, essayist, and literary translator, he is the author of twenty books. His latest poetry book is Pulp Sonnets (2015). His books of co-translation include Mother Is a Bird: Sonnets by a Yi Poet (2017), River Merchant's Wife by Ming Di (2012), Chinese Erotic Poems (2007), The Anchor Book of Chinese Poetry (2005), and Out of the Howling Storm: The New Chinese Poetry (1993). Among his honors are fellowships from the NEA, the NEH, and the California Arts Council. He has won the Grand Prize of the Strokestown International Poetry Festival, the Pushcart Prize, the Pablo Neruda Prize, and the John Ciardi Prize.

Ming Di

Ming Di 明迪 is a Chinese poet based in the U.S. She attended Boston College and Boston University, where she taught Chinese. She has published six books of poetry in Chinese along with a collaborative translation, River Merchant's Wife (2012). She co-translated The Book of Cranes by Zang Di (2015) with Neil Aitken, and Empty Chairs: Selected Poems by Liu Xia (2015) with Jennifer Stern, which was a finalist for the 2016 Best Translation Book Award. She edited and co-translated New Cathay: Contemporary Chinese Poetry (2013) and New Poetry from China 1917–2017 (2019). In 2013 and 2014, she received Henry Luce Foundation fellowships. A co-founder of Poetry East West journal, she serves as the China editor for Poetry International Rotterdam. She has also translates from English into Chinese, most recently Observations by Marianne Moore (2018).



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