- Chessboard, and: Carpenter, and: A Taoist Priest on Mount Kongtong
Flying back to BeijingI look out—a thin layer of whitenessover the city. Snow.A chessboard.But who is playing chesswith me? Nobody, only meand the bloody setting sun—watching each otheracross the snowboard.
The carpenter,stripped to his waist,is striving to shape a block of woodwith his hand plane.Shavingssurge up like sprays,curly and soft,giving off the scent of wood.Swimming among wood,he stretches out his armsand draws them back. [End Page 98]
a taoist priest on mount kongtong
With great effort,I climbed to the mountaintop.There was a Taoist temple,named Palace of the Jade Emperor.At its front doorsat an old Taoist prieststriking the chime stonefor the pilgrims.With a mallet in his left handfor hitting the stone,he held an apple in his right hand.He struck the stone,then gave his apple a bite,struck again,then bit again.When hitting the stone,he looked listless.When he bit the apple,his eyes shone. [End Page 99]
Shen Haobo 沈浩波 was born in Jiangsu province in 1976. He is a major advocate of the Lower Body poetry movement, which attempts to overcome the taboos against explicit content in poetry. His first poetry collection, Great Evil in the Heart (2004), was banned. His most recent collection is Command Me to Be Silent. He is the founder of Xiron, a successful independent publishing house in Beijing.
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).
Liang Yujing grew up in China and is a doctral candidate at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. He is the Chinese translator of Best New Zealand Poems 2014 and the English translator of Zero Distance: New Poetry from China.