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  • Good Night
  • Chang Yao (bio)
    Translation from Chinese by Ming Di and Kerry Shawn Keys

Exiled poet—Does this beautiful night belong to you?This sweet night borne only by newlyweds belong to you?No, there's no moonlight, no flowers, no swans,my hands only catch drizzle and grass,and despite all this, does such a rainy nightbelong body and soul to you?

Yes, all of it is mine.Don't think that my love has sprouted bacteria.I take nutrients from the air, calcium from the sun,my hair and moustache are arrowsbut my love is shy as night.You—who talk and talk to me all night long,please reach out your hands to me, your ten fingers slender. [End Page 16]

Chang Yao

Chang Yao (1936–2000) was born in Hunan province, central China. He fought in the Korean War and, wounded, returned to China in 1953. He edited a collection of Qinghai folksongs, Flowers and Young Men, but in 1957 was denounced as a "rightist" for publishing a sixteen-line poem, "Trying to Play a Flute in the Forest." As a result, the Qinghai People's Publishing House removed his name from the book and replaced it with someone else's. He spent the next twenty-two years internally exiled, imprisoned, homeless, and destitute. He was rehabilitated in 1978, and in 1986 Lyric Poetry of Chang Yao was published.

Ming Di

Ming Di is a Chinese poet, translator, and editor based in the U.S. She has published six books of poetry in Chinese, plus a collaborative translation, River Merchant's Wife. With Neil Aitken, she cotranslated Zang Di's The Book of Cranes, and with Jennifer Stern, Liu Xia's Empty Chairs: Selected Poems, a finalist for the 2016 Best Translated Book Award. She edited and cotranslated New Cathay: Contemporary Chinese Poetry and New Poetry from China 1917–2017. A recipient of Henry Luce Foundation fellowships, she is a cofounder of Poetry East West journal and the China editor for Poetry International Rotterdam.

Kerry Shawn Keys

Kerry Shawn Keys has published nearly fifty books, including poetry, plays, fiction, and children's literature. He is a member of International PEN and is the Republic of Užupis' World Poetry Ambassador. He received an NEA fellowship and awards from the Poetry Society of America and Lithuanian Writer's Union.



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