- I Swallow an Iron Moon
I'm swallowing an iron moon,a screw they call it.I'm swallowing industrial wastewater, unemployment,and orders.People die young, who are shorter than the machines.I'm swallowing migration, displacement,skywalks and rusty life.I can't swallow any more. All that I've swallowed rushes outof my throatspreading like a shameful poemon my fatherland. [End Page 141]
Xu Lizhi 许立志 (1990–2014) was born in rural Jieyang, in Guangdong province. A migrant laborer, he produced many poems while working on an assembly line at Foxconn, in Shenzhen. He committed suicide at the factory at age twenty-four. His death as well as his poems became headline news nationally and internationally. His poems can be found online and in several anthologies.
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).