Archive for the ‘November 2012’ Category

10 YEARS – NPC十岁了!NPC德语第一本目录

4月 3, 2021

10 YEARS – NPC十岁了!

10 years ago, Yi Sha 伊沙 began to present one poem each day on Chinese social media. This has become a representative collection of new poetry in the new century, aptly named NPC, New Poetry Canon 新世纪诗典.
Eight years ago I began to look for NPC poems each day, translating more and more into German and English. In 2014 my own poetry appeared on NPC for the first time. After two books of Yi Sha’s poetry, I have now published, along with Juliane Adler, the first book of a 4-volume-series of NPC poetry in Chinese and German. Here are the contents:

BRETT VOLLER NÄGEL 布满钉子的木板
NPC-Anthologie 新世纪诗典
Band 1: A–J. Gedichte
Chinesisch/Deutsch
Übersetzt von Martin Winter
Herausgegeben von Juliane Adler und Martin Winter
ISBN 978-3-903267-00-8
Lieferbar
€ 24.00

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WINTER – 伊沙 Yi Sha

4月 3, 2021

Yi Sha
WINTER

On my way to the vegetable supermarket
in our compound
I see a small girl
on a big rock at the artificial lake
right above the ice going to
jump!
I am shouting:
„Don’t jump! Danger!“
But in this time
she has jumped already,
lightly,
safely
landing on the thick surface.
She turns around to me,
makes a ballet move
and becomes a small white swan.

Translated by MW, 4/3/2021

Yi Sha
WINTER

Ich geh zum Gemüsesupermarkt
in der Wohnhausanlage,
seh auf dem Weg ein kleines Mädchen
auf einem Felsen am künstlichen See,
sie will auf das Eis hinunter
springen!
Ich schrei:
„Achtung! Nicht springen!“
aber in der Zeit
ist sie schon gesprungen,
ganz leicht
und sicher
auf dem festen Eis gelandet.
Sie dreht sich zu mir um
in einer Bewegung aus dem Ballett
und wird ein kleiner weißer Schwan.

Übersetzt von MW am 3. April 2021

新世纪诗典作品联展#伊沙#(30.0)

Yi Sha, orig. name Wu Wenjian. Well-known poet, writer, critic, translator, editor. Born in 1966 in Chengdu, lives in Xi’an. Graduated from Beijing Normal University in 1989. Has written over 20,000 poems, published, translated and edited 122 books. Received the Henry Luce prize for contemporary Chinese poetry and many other awards. Invited to poetry festivals in China, Sweden, England, Netherlands, South Korea etc., incl. the 2nd, 3rd, 4th & 5th Qinghai Lake international poetry festival, the 50th Struga poetry festival in Macedonia and many more. Vermont Studio Center fellow 2014. He has recited at the University of Vienna, at Arizona University etc. 《新诗典》小档案:伊沙,原名吴文健,男,当代著名诗人、作家、批评家、翻译家、编选家。 1966年生于四川成都。1989年毕业于北京师范大学中文系。写诗逾两万首,出版著、译、编122部作品。获美国亨利•鲁斯基金会中文诗歌奖金、韩国“亚洲诗人奖”以及中国国内数十项诗歌奖项。应邀出席瑞典第16届奈舍国际诗歌节、荷兰第38届鹿特丹国际诗歌节、英国第20届奥尔德堡国际诗歌节、马其顿第50届斯特鲁加国际诗歌节、中国第二、三、四、五届青海湖国际诗歌节、第二届澳门文学节、美国佛蒙特创作中心驻站作家、奥地利梅朵艺术中心驻站作家、美国亚利桑那大学为其举办的朗诵会、奥地利两校一刊为其举办的朗诵会与研讨会、2021年世界诗歌日线上国际诗歌节等国际交流活动。

NPC_德語第一本!ES IST DA!IT IS HERE!

3月 25, 2021
BRETT VOLLER NÄGEL 布满钉子的木板 NPC-Anthologie 新世纪诗典 Band 1: A–J.

BRETT VOLLER NÄGEL 布满钉子的木板
NPC-Anthologie 新世纪诗典
Band 1: A–J

NPC stands for New Poetry Canon, or New Century Poetry Canon 新世纪诗典, presented by Yi Sha 伊沙 in Chinese social media each day since spring 2011. NPC outside of poetry is National People’s Congress, China’s parliament that convenes in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing for two weeks each March. Yi Sha’s NPC poem of the day on Sina Weibo 新浪微博, Tencent WeChat 微信 and other platforms gets clicked, forwarded, commented 10,000 times or more, each day. Each year a book comes out, about every week there are events in Xi’an, Beijing and many, many places all over China and beyond. All produced independently from among the people 民间, not by any state organizations. This book contains poems by 81 poets listed below. This is the first volume (A-J) in a series of four books. Compiled and edited by Juliane Adler and Martin Winter, translated by Martin Winter.

ORDER HERE
Bestellen

NPC steht für New Poetry Canon, eigentlich New Century Poetry Canon, 新世纪诗典. Abgekürzt als NPC. NPC steht sonst für National People’s Congress, also der Nationale Volkskongress, Chinas Parlament, das allerdings nur einmal im Jahr im März zwei Wochen lang zusammentritt. Seit 2011 wird von Yi Sha 伊沙 im NPC-新世纪诗典 jeden Tag ein Gedicht vorgestellt, in mehreren chinesischen sozialen Medien zugleich. Oft wird ein einziges Gedicht schon in den ersten zwei Tagen zehntausende Male angeklickt, kommentiert und weitergeleitet. Ein nationaler Poesiekongress und eine umfangreiche Studie der heutigen Gesellschaft. Band 1 präsentiert 81 Autorinnen und Autoren. Wird fortgesetzt.

Cover/Umschlag etc: Neue Arche von Kuang Biao 邝飚 und 3 Grafiken von: An Qi 安琪

Autorinnen und Autoren:

A Ti 阿嚏, A Wen 阿文, A Wu 阿吾, A Yu 阿煜, AAA (3A) 三个A, Ai Hao 艾蒿, Ai Mi 艾米, An Qi 安琪, Ao Yuntao 敖运涛, Bai Diu 摆丢, Bai Li 白立, Bei Dao 北岛, Bei Lang 北浪, Benben S. K. 笨笨. S. K, Cai Xiyin 蔡喜印, Caiwong Namjack 才旺南杰, Caomu Xin 草木心, Cha Wenjin 查文瑾, Chang Yuchun 常遇春, Chao Hui 朝晖, Che Qianzi 车前子, Chen Moshi 陈默实, Chen Yanqiang 陈衍强, Chen Yulun 陈玉伦, Chen Yunfeng 陈云峰, Cheng Bei 成倍, Cheng Tao 程涛, Chun Sue 春树, Cong Rong 从容, Da Duo 大朵, Da You 大友, Dai Guanglei 代光磊, Dechen Pakme 德乾恒美, Denis Mair 梅丹理, Di Guanglong 第广龙, Dong Yue 东岳, Du Qin 独禽, Du Sishang 杜思尚, Du Zhongmin 杜中民, Duo Er 朵儿, Eryue Lan 二月蓝, Ezher 艾孜哈尔, Fa Xing 发星, Fei Qin 秦菲, Feng Xuan 冯谖, Gang Jumu 冈居木, Gao Ge 高歌, Geng Zhankun 耿占坤, Gong Zhijian 龚志坚, Gongzi Qin 公子琹, Gu Juxiu 谷驹休, Guangtou 光头, Gui Shi 鬼石, Hai An 海岸, Hai Jing 海菁, Hai Qing 海青, Han Dong 韩东, Han Jingyuan 韩敬源, Han Yongheng 韩永恒, Hong Junzhi 洪君植, Hou Ma 侯马,Houhou Jing 后后井, Hu Bo 胡泊, Hu Zanhui 胡赞辉, Huang Hai 黄海, Huang Kaibing 黄开兵, Huang Lihai 黃禮孩, Huang Xiang 黄翔, Hung Hung 鴻鴻, Huzi 虎子, Ji Yanfeng 纪彦峰, Jian Tianping 簡天平, Jiang Caiyun 蒋彩云, Jiang Erman 姜二嫚, Jiang Rui 江睿, Jiang Tao 蔣濤, Jiang Xinhe 姜馨贺, Jiang Xuefeng 蔣雪峰, Jianghu Hai 江湖海, Jin Shan 金山, Jun Er 君儿

BRETT VOLLER NÄGEL 布满钉子的木板 NPC-Anthologie 新世纪诗典 Band 1: A–J

BRETT VOLLER NÄGEL 布满钉子的木板 NPC-Anthologie 新世纪诗典 Band 1: A–J

Die chinesischen Gedichte sind hauptsächlich erschienen in:

NPC 新世纪诗典 1-6,伊沙 编选 著,磨铁图书 (Xiron), Zhejiang People‘s Publishing 浙江人民出版社, Bände 1-6, herausgegeben von Yi Sha. Hangzhou 2012-2018

NPC 新世纪诗典 7,伊沙 编选 著,磨铁图书 (Xiron), China Youth Publishing 中国青年出版社, Band 7, herausgegeben von Yi Sha. Beijing 2018

NPC 新世纪诗典 8,伊沙 编选 著,磨铁图书 (Xiron), China Friendship Publishing 中国友谊出版公司, Band 8, herausgegeben von Yi Sha. Beijing 2020

Die restlichen Texte stammen aus Internetquellen (Soziale Medien: Sina Weibo, Tencent Weixin etc.) mit freundlicher Genehmigung der Autorinnen und Autoren. Die Texte aus 2019 und 2020-2021 werden in den Büchern NPC 9 und 10 erscheinen.

BRETT VOLLER NÄGEL 布满钉子的木板 NPC-Anthologie 新世纪诗典 Band 1: A–J

BRETT VOLLER NÄGEL 布满钉子的木板 NPC-Anthologie 新世纪诗典 Band 1: A–J

 

 

 

 

 

 

DISTANCE STUDIES

11月 30, 2012

李勤岸
距離學

從嘴巴到筆尖有多遠?
從筆尖到街頭有多遠?
從街頭到法院有多遠?
從法院到牢獄有多遠?
從牢獄到槍聲有多遠?

法院到民主有多遠?
牢獄到民主有多遠?
槍聲到民主有多少光年?

Li Khin-huann
DISTANCE STUDIES

how far is the mouth from the tip of the brush?
how far from the tip of the brush is the street?
how far is the street from the court?
how far is the court from the jail?
how far is the jail from the shots?

how far is democracy from the court?
how far is democracy from the jail?
how many light-years away from the shots?

(Taiwan 1986)
Tr. Martin Winter, 2009-2014

__________________________________________

Li Khin-huann
ENTFERNUNGSLEHRE

wie weit ist die pinselspitze vom mund?
wie weit von der strasse?
wie weit ist die strasse entfernt vom gericht?
wie weit ist es vom gericht zum gefängnis?
wie weit vom gefängnis zum schuss?

wie weit vom gericht ist die demokratie?
wie weit ist die demokratie vom gefängnis?
und wie viele lichtjahre vom schuss?

(Taiwan 1986)
Übersetzt von MW 2009-2014

11月 17, 2012


bluete

weiss und rosa leuchtend schweben
fortgetragen in die tage
unter allen irren menschen
bluehen zweifellos die baeume
wachsen, fallen, reifen, stehen
atmen, oeffnen sich im wind

MW April 2011

blossom

shine and float in white and pink
carried forth into the day
all among the loony people
certainly the trees are blooming
growing, falling, ripening
standing, breathing in the wind

MW April 2011

頑張る

the danube flows

Photo by Ronnie Niedermeyer

再说中国新诗 300 首 (中英对照) 300 Modern and Contemporary Chinese Poems (Chinese-English)

11月 15, 2012

再说中国新诗 300 首 (中英对照)
Lucas Klein, translator of Xi Chuan 西川, has commented on 野鬼’s new anthology of 300 Modern and Contemporary Chinese Poems (Chinese-English) 中国新诗 300 首 (中英对照). Lucas Klein’s blog is called Notes on the Mosquito, like his new Xi Chuan translations compilation. Notes on the Mosquito as a title reminds me of Bei Dao’s 北岛 Harvest 收获, don’t know if that is intended.

There is Zhang Xinying’s 张新颖 fine anthology 中國新詩 from 2000 (in Chinese), incl. 2 interesting poems by Zhou Zuoren 周作人. Zhang has close to 100 poets and up to 10 poems from each of them. If you cover the last 30 or 40 years, it would have to be rather thick to include at least ten or twenty examples each from 食指、芒克、多多、楊煉、于堅、韓東、西川、伊沙等等,to mention only a few older living males.

My favorite contemporary anthology is 黃梁’s 大陸先鋒詩叢. 10 volumes came out in 1998/1999 – Bai Hua 柏华、Zhu Wen 朱文、Meng Lang 孟浪 etc. 等等. Another 10 came out in 2009, incl. Tibet’s poetess and dissident blogger Woeser 唯色, migrant worker poetess Zheng Xiaoqiong 郑小琼(鄭小瓊), and a few more not-so-well-known poets like Pang Pei 庞培(born 1962).

The new 300-poems-anthology is Chinese-English, but it seems the English versions will all be done by Chinese translators. Some translators could be native speakers of English, and/or writing poetry in English. But it does look like an inner-Chinese project, so to speak. The Chinese Issue of The Drunken Boat from 2006 provides a very broad spectrum in the categories minorities, gender and localities in Asia and beyond. Xi Chuan is prominently featured. The 2008 China issue of The Atlantic Review also has an interesting mixture and beautiful poems, incl. Xi Chuan. But these two anthologies are all in English. In my earlier blog post on this topic of anthologies I have written about the advantages of starting from women writers and minorities. That was in Chinese, sorry.

Huang Liang is operating in Taiwan, but he still had some trouble with Mainland authorities about meeting and publishing Woeser 唯色. The 300 modern poems anthology includes the blind folk singer Zhou Yunpeng 周云蓬, who is also in the 10/19/12 New Statesman issue curated by Ai Weiwei, along with Zuoxiao Zuzhou 左小祖咒. On the other hand, compiler Diablo 野鬼 (Zhao Siyun 赵思云 is not the editor) told me they could never include Li Qin’an’s 李勤安 When Martial Law Was Lifted 解嚴以後, because with books you have to worry much more about (self-)censorship than online. I think When Martial Law Was Lifted 解嚴以後 is a landmark poem in any sense. I like Xi Chuan’s poetry very much, but on the whole now and then it needs to be complemented with something more explicitly political. Actually you could say the same about Hsia Yu 夏宇, maybe. Anyway, Li Qin’an 李勤安 still sounds relevant in Taiwan today, according to some of my friends there. On the Mainland, the role(s) of poetry are more acutely questioned, also by Zhao Siyun 赵思云 and Diablo 野鬼 (Zhang Zhi 张智), for example. See Diablo 野鬼’s “非诗” and Zhao Siyun’s Lili’s Story 丽丽传.

莫言得諾講起

11月 14, 2012

Image

the noble

the nobel is stronger than china

china jumping up and down

on feet of clay

The situation is maddening for every serious literature critic who cannot acknowledge the encroachment of such a hyper-prize-situation on their territory. On the other hand, this is the perfect opportunity to see, and maybe even acknowledge, the impossible challenge of writing a balanced political or literature and art history of the last 100 years, or even 20 or 30. You could see the huge discrepancy between the international relevance of China and its surroundings and the impossibility for Chinese Studies (and Taiwan Studies etc.) of doing it justice in research, of reacting in adequate or satisfying ways. Actually, Anna Schonberg has found a convincing personal way of talking about Mo Yan’s work and the current debate. Goenawan Mohamad has written an article on Mo Yan and Yu Hua, seen from Indonesia. And Yang Jisheng’s investigation of the Great Leap famine is spawning documentary work in villages in the way of writing “people’s histories” in the People’s Republic. Howard Zinn’s People’s History of the US came out in 1979. China is catching up. There is Yang Xianhui, and there is 1942, a new film centered on famine, after the story Remember 1942 Liu Zhenyun wrote in 1992. But how relevant is literature on the whole?

Li Bai, China’s most famous poet, has been constructed as a would-be useful patriotic official in a recent play. I remember one or two other political readings of his poems. The political role of all literature and art that the CCP ostensibly demanded led to, or enforced overwhelmingly political reading of everything. Now Mo Yan cannot escape political criticism because he is a CCP official. He has written great literature. But because he got this larger-than-anything-even-China-in-a-way-prize, on one hand he can finally be a public intellectual, let his conscience speak and speak out for a return to reason in Chinese-Japanese relations and for a release of Liu Xiaobo, both taboo topics. A voice of reason after “street protests” against Japan (?), somehow evoking both Cultural Revolution and Fascism. Tolerated and stoked by a system in the midst of a supposedly tightly choreographed leadership transition. Leaders of the Bo Xilai generation installed. They’re different, of course.

Yang Jisheng in the international media is the perfect contrast, or antidote, to the 18th Party Congress spectacle. Another good contrast is running a detailed article on the One Child policy, like Die Zeit did. Speaking of family planning, Mo Yan’s Frogs is coming out soon in English and German. Granta magazine has an excerpt online.

Mo Yan spoke out, but he still was attacked because he didn’t speak out before, which is kind of unfair, because it would mean every writer has to be like Liao Yiwu, every artist like Ai Weiwei etc. The Nobel prize is very unique, because it entails so much international attention. And so especially societies with a huge inferiority complex, stemming at least in part from a rather recently constructed nation (as in Turkey) have to turn the recipient into an anointed emblem. The only alternative is to deny, like in Gao Xingjian’s case, that he/she belongs at all to the country he/she comes from and the language he/she wrote most of his/her works in, as Anne Sytske Keijser and Maghiel van Crevel have pointed out in a recent article in “De Groene Amsterdammer” (10/17/2012). In today’s China, for a virtual, fleeting audience online, you can show you are not part of this official face. Up to a point, that is. No mentioning of other recent Chinese Nobel laureates. But you can criticize Mo Yan, no matter if you have read his fiction or not. So anyone interested in freedom of speech has to be thankful to the Nobel prize and to Mo Yan for all the national and international attention they have generated. Mo Yan has chosen to speak out, so he should be respected. You can speak about your own impression of his work, as you should, according to Kant, if the question is “whether it is beautiful” (Critique of Judgement, Book 1). Or you can speak about your personal relationship with him and his work, as Howard Goldblatt has done. But you can also write about Mo Yan in a political light, which is what everybody has done, including me. Reading “Republic of Wine”, for example, both in Chinese and in translation, is much more rewarding.

The debate after Mo Yan won the Nobel is about debate. How much debate is allowed? How does debate get allowed or possible at all? It’s obedience vs. disobedience. What Charles Laughlin said on the MCLC list sounds like this: Demanding outspokenness from Mo Yan now is the same as demanding, in effect, obedience to the Party line in 1942. This is how it sounds like, not only to me, I am afraid. Obedience and disobedience are thus blurred. One-party systems enforce obedience and silence. Draconically, as the 8-year sentence on Oct.31 in Kunming of a young father of an unborn child for talking about a multi-party-system online shows. Multi-party systems include and tolerate traditions of disobedience. In some countries, civil disobedience is highly valued- think of Thoreau and Ghandi. Doesn’t mean these places are always better in every area and aspect.

Apart from Mo Yan and the Nobel subject discussed nobly or not, the New Statesman issue from Oct. 19-25 (guest-editor: Ai Weiwei) and the new issue of Words Without Borders provide worthwhile reading.

Image

Dieses Leben: 今生:Erinnerung & Liebe 愛和記憶

11月 3, 2012

It was great. Lai Hsiangyin 賴香吟 read part of her story about a member of a former underground movement who has to confront his own weakness when his divorced wife needs his attention. I read Julia Buddeberg’s translation. Chen Kohua 陳克華 read three poems. First came Nothing 無, very Buddhist. Then a couple of last things. The last café 最後的咖啡館. The last motel 最後的汽車旅館. Very Taiwanese kind of motel dive. Secrete details, medical details, scientific details included in all three poems. Questions and answers. Audience members asked a few questions, and we had an interesting discussion. How and why did Ms. Lai write the story? What comes first, life or politics? And so on. Students, immigrants, veterans maybe, of Taiwan politics. Chinese Studies, East Asian Studies Institute, Vienna University 維也納大學東亞文化系. Austrian PEN. Two days in Vienna. Two nights. 維也納卌八小時左右。Arriving, getting lost on the airport. Translator’s fault. Translator’s idea, the whole thing. Not lucrative. I am sorry. Not smooth. Interesting, yes. Freezing. Exhausting. Fun. Fruitful, hopefully. Thanks very much! To the organizers. Thank you! Everyone who helped us. But above all 賴香吟、陳克華多謝!辛苦你們!Liebe. Liebe und Erinnerung. 愛和記憶。Love and memory. 賴香吟小說的主要題材。維也納很適合你們。柏林也是。柏林比較像現在的台北,相當開放、國際化的。柏林非常重視記憶。維也納的過去其實比柏林可怕,因為沒有柏林那麼公開的重視記憶。

So we had Q&A. Then the encore. We had Vienna in the café, in my translation. Apocalypse. Pouring coffee, to the last. Tabori. Hitler and Freud. Is there a Freud statue? There is his private clinic. Oh well. Statues of Strauss, Beethoven. Vivaldi, very recent. With his orphan students, all girls. Musicians, composers. When Aids broke out in Taiwan, the government forbade intercourse with foreigners. As well as doing it from behind. That’s how Chen Kohua thought of the poem. As a medical man. And risk group member. No intercourse with foreigners, no sex from behind, and we’ll be fine. Right. That’s where the quotation marks in the title come from. Freud and Jelinek. Dreams of Vienna. Love and memory.

陳克華
今生

我清楚看見你由前生向我走近
走入我的來世
再走入來世的來世

可是我只有現在。每當我
無夢地醒來
便擔心要永久地錯過
錯過你,啊–

我想走回到錯誤發生的那一瞬
將畫面停格
讓時間靜止:
你永遠是起身離去的姿勢。
我永遠伸手向你。

1985

Chen Kohua
DIESES LEBEN

Du näherst dich aus meinem früheren Leben.
Ich seh’ dich ganz klar, du gehst in meine Zukunft.
In die Zukunft der Zukunft.

Aber ich hab’ nur die Gegenwart. Wenn ich
traumlos aufwache,
hab’ ich jedesmal die Sorge,
dass ich dich verpasse, für immer —

Ich möchte zurück in den Augenblick des Fehlers,
den Film anhalten,
die Zeit und das Bild:
Für immer stehst du auf, um zu gehen.
Ich streck’ dabei die Arme aus.

1985
Übersetzt von Martin Winter im November 2012

Murong Xuecun, Yu Hua, Liu Zhenyun, Bob Dylan and Rivers of Bablyon

8月 5, 2012

I don’t think Murong Xuecun exaggerates, like one commentator suggested on the MCLC list. Yes, you could encompass many alarming, saddening, embarrassing stories in one speech in other places than China, and people do it all the time, naming names, practices, products. The difference is that in China you will be silenced more swiftly and harshly. Yes, there are exceptions.

Does Mo Yan revel in cruelty like Dan Brown? Does Yu Hua make better use of the cruel parts in his novels? Ok, I’m an interested party, I can’t really say. Would be interesting to analyze in detail. Mo Yan’s novels are great works, at least those I have read, he has written a lot. Deep, cathartic, even accusing use of cruel events and structures. I love Yu Hua’s tone. And I associate Liu Zhenyun in Remember 1942, and Murong Xuecun’s Sky and Autumn speech.

We had Jeremiah in church today, along with that story where a guy goes abroad and gives his gold and silver to his servants. The ones that receive more trade with it, and when their lord comes back, they can give him double. The one who received very little buries it, and when the lord comes back, he digs it out and says, I know you are a harsh governor and reap where you haven’t sown, so I was afraid to lose what you gave me, and kept it double safe. His colleagues get to join the big party, and are rewarded with great posts. He is cast out into the darkness, which is filled with howling and chattering teeth. It’s a horrible story. Yes, it’s a parable, and if you have very little reason for faith, you should still risk it and try to make more, because if you bury it deep in your heart you might lose the little trust you had and received and be cast out into the darkness. But if you are the one who has reason to be afraid, how can you trust your lords? The ones who have more and get more have it easy. Even if they lose everything, they are often rewarded – those powerful managers and functionaries. And if there are enough of those who are cast out, and they get organized, maybe some bishops or other lords might dangle from lamp posts. A Hussite reading, said my wife. Yeah, maybe. No shortage of horrible stories in Chinese literature, like in the Bible.

Jeremiah is even worse, it’s a much bigger story, infinitely more horrible. And there is a detail, not in the Jeremiah parts used in church today, but in the songs in exile. By the rivers of Babylon, where we sat down, where we wept when we remembered Zion. And in the end the singer wishes, or the singers wish they will one day brutally kill the children of the oppressors. That’s the detail in Murong Xuecun’s speech I was thinking about.

The calling of Jeremiah, where he says he’s too young, and God says he has to go and obey, and open his mouth, and God will put His words into his mouth, and he will be set above nations and kingdoms, so he can pluck out and demolish, ruin and destroy, as well as plant and build. The preacher said she thought of parting and setting off to other posts, and how the Marschallin in Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s and Richard Strauss’ Rosenkavalier sings of what she will have to give up. What a horrible comparison! There is nothing light in Jeremiah. There are no waltzes. Ok, Rivers of Babylon, yes. But with Jeremiah, if you have to mention Austrian writers, Franz Werfel would be much more apt. Werfel was Jewish and used Jeremiah, a lot. Ok, she did mention, much too briefly how nobody would heed Jeremiah, and that it’s actually the most terrible story.

Anyway, when I heard Jeremiah, I thought of Bob Dylan. Masters of War. “How much do I know, to talk out of turn? You might say that I’m young; you might say I’m unlearned. But there is one thing I know, though I’m younger than you, it’s that Jesus would never forgive what you do. […] And I’ll watch while you’re lowered onto your deathbed, and I’ll stand on your grave and make sure that you’re dead.” I don’t know if Dylan thought of Nixon and Kissinger explicitly, when he wrote this song. America’s Vietnam War was raging, and I think the song came out when Nixon and Kissinger where in power. Anyway, there is that Monty Python song about Kissinger. Very explicit. Dylan and Monty Python would not be able to sing these songs in China on stage today, to say nothing about what Chinese artists can do. No, Murong Xuecun doesn’t exaggerate.

x and y

x was cruel

butt is sore

y was able

and suave.

both loved culture

both destroyed

hundred million

butts are cold

MW         March 2007

Yes, I thought of Mao and Nixon, and their sidekicks. But x and y could stand for many people, and could be mentioned anywhere, at least today. Almost anywhere, probably. Anyway, it’s about smoking, you know. Littering. OK, enough for today.


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