Posts Tagged ‘speaking’


十二月 17, 2016


Zhao Lihong

1) Do not read it out or memorize it, do not recite!
2) Only one poem per person!
3) Only one person reading one poem!
4) Do not recite like a professional!
5) No special cell phone status is required while reading poetry.
6) While reading poetry, it is forbidden to kiss, to undress or to munch popcorn.
7) After drinking alcohol, you can read poetry as long as you make out the characters.
8) Besides Chinese Mandarin, please read the characters in any sort of language or dialect!
9) Sexy women with a little bit of perfume are welcome to read!
10) Light music accompaniment is also encouraged.
11) It is strictly forbidden to ask any author to explain any poem in any way!

Tr. MW, December 2016





十一月 24, 2015


Lan Du

der alte herr
war sein leben lang knochig und mager
dann wurde er herzkrank
und starb auf der ofenbank
angeschwollen am ganzen körper
seine dreijährige enkelin
zupft am ärmel des vaters
“opa ist dick geworden”

14. Juli 2015
Übersetzt von MW, Nov. 2015



十一月 12, 2014

Pang Hua

Pang Hua


In the old woods
in the dense undergrowth
I loved to see a bit of the moon.
You get a sore neck –
I would lean on a tree
to have a cigarette
to have the best smoke in the world.
But every time I went
I never found a trace of myself –
an invisible walker.


Rains went on and on for a week,
like another week was looming.
Came three in the afternoon,
always four or five thunderclaps
rolling over my head.
Someone jumping for fun
in four or five mountain peaks –
but except me
no-one heard any thunder.

Tr. MW, Nov. 2014

Pang Hua



damals im tiefen wald
ich sah so gern ein bisschen vom mond
man verrenkt sich immer den hals
also lehn ich mich an einen baum
rauche eine zigarette
die beste zigarette der welt
aber wenn ich wieder hin geh
find ich nichts was mir zeigt wo ich war
ich bin halt unsichtbar


jetzt war eine woche regen
schaut aus nach noch einer woche
nur am nachmittag um drei
tuscht es vier, fünf mal
so ein rollender donner
als wenn vier, fünf gipfel
hupfen wie’s wollen
nur außer mir
hat niemand etwas gehört


Übersetzt von MW im November 2014

原作朗诵 – Zhuang Sheng reads the original poem

Murong Xuecun, Yu Hua, Liu Zhenyun and Dan Brown, among others

八月 3, 2012

Click on the image to go to the English version of Murong Xuecun‘s text.


I like Murong Xuecun‘s recent essay (or speech) The Water in Autumn And The Unending Sky very much. He quotes Lu Xun, very aptly. All the quotations are apt, within the text, of course. This kind of essay very easily gets misunderstood as a mere pamphlet. It is a pamphlet. It is meant as a very sharp critique. But just like Lu Xun’s non-fiction pieces, this one is also meant to be read and listened to very carefully.

The Republican era in the decades before 1949 was roundly condemned for its society and government by many writers. Its downfall was expected, and there was so much contempt, in retrospective, that it seemed the new era after 1949 had to be something better, simply because the war and the state of China before had been such disasters. The Chinese writers and commentators of the Late Qing and Republican eras very often understood themselves as patriots, especially in their most acerbic writings. Lu Xun is the most famous example.

I’m not interested in whether Murong Xuecun could write as well or could become as famous as some Republican writers. He is one among many present writers who are publicly critical of the PRC government. Many of the most critical ones are mostly or permanently abroad. I don’t know if Murong Xuecun can continue to live mostly in China. He is certainly more consequent than Han Han, for example. I don’t know what exactly has driven Murong Xuecun to non-fiction. Seems it has been a gradual process.

The present state and the more or less contemporary history of the PRC have been described and inscribed very starkly by many writers ever since the late 1970s, basically by almost everybody in the world of letters, whether or not they still go through the motions of hand-copying Mao’s totalitarian directives in 2012, as some of the most famous have done.

The Republican era was roundly condemned, in fiction and non-fiction. On the other hand, some people see it as an era of freedom, in retrospect. Both could be justified, it seems. Liu Zhenyun, who could be seen as just another member of the establishment and as a non-serious TV- and popular movie-collaborator, is actually very eager to mention the famine of around 1960 in his works. Remember 1942, Liu’s non-fiction story from 1992, has just been filmed. The story is about remembering a local famine that occurred in 1942. It was a terrible year around the globe. The Holocaust in Europe was coming into full swing. War was raging in many places. Total war was going to be proclaimed. 1942 is a year that has received a lot of historical attention. But the context of Chiang Kaishek’s and his government’s decisions about the famine in Henan is not very widely discussed. Liu Zhenyun manages to combine the Republican era and the PRC in a piece of stunning critique of both. The PRC part is mostly implied, but it works. I don’t know how or if this works in the film as well. Anyway the film, wherever it will be shown, will make some people want to dig out the text.

Liu Zhenyun, Murong Xuecun and Yu Hua have something in common in their tone. They are very close to the common people, aside from some stylistic differences. Yu Hua has only recently become well known for his non-fiction, which is not published in the PRC, but available on the internet. Maybe Murong Xuecun will turn to fiction again, and maybe he will continue to live in Mainland China. Doesn’t look like it at the moment, but it seems more feasible than, say, Liao Yiwu returning to China.

Murong Xuecun, Liu Zhenyun and Yu Hua are very conversational in their non-fiction. These pieces are written for popular appeal. They could be seen as very patriotic, in a way. Many very popular works in other languages are patriotic, like Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol. Non-fiction in Chinese won’t become quite as world-famous, but it has come a long way in the last few years.

Murong Xuecun‘s text is a speech held in Hong Kong. There is a lot of classical Chinese at the end, although it is still very clear. The fragile heart sounds very 19th century to a Western reader. To me, at least. But so what? It’s not Wordsworth or Blake or one of the Shelleys, but it’s going in that direction. There have always been many kinds of writing at one particular time.

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