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Workshop on Chinese Poetry by Chen Yuhong from Taiwan

Translator and poet, Chenxin Jiang joined us to lead a second workshop on the poems of Chen Yuhong from Taiwan who writes in Chinese. We had a fascinating time translating poetry from Chinese in the first workshop led by Chenxin in December, when we completed two poems by Chen Yuhong, 'Improvisations on a Poem' and the delightful (and delightfully-titled) 'Portrait: Mr Dreamer of Butterflies After a Long Illness in Bed'.

This time, we worked on three poems from Chen Yuhong's prize-winning collection, Suoyin. Her translator, Chenxin Jiang, tell us that, 'Chen explains in the preface to Suoyin that she has borrowed the word to describe the poet's search for metaphor (the Chinese word for metaphor, yinyu, contains the character yin, because metaphors are taken as a sort of hidden simile). Each of the poems in her collection is headed either suo (to search) or yin (metaphor). But the collection also doubles as a commentary on an ancient text, since Chen's own poems are interspersed with her translations of fragments of Sappho.'

It was a huge achievement loading up the Chinese originals of these three poems because the characters in Suoyin are printed vertically, something our website was not designed to cope with! However Chenxin managed to get the poems retyped horizontally - and here they are: '14 • metaphor', '16 • search' and '27 • metaphor'.

Our poetry translation workshops are one of the PTC's core activities. Through them we've first encountered some of the poets we've gone on to translate, publish and record at length. A significant number of the poets who've visited the UK to take part in our tours were introduced to us by a translator bringing their poems to a workshop.

The workshops are open to anyone who can contribute a translation of a poem by a living African, Asian or Latin American poet who has an established reputation in their own language.

Workshops are free but places are limited so advance booking is essential. If you've not attended one of our workshops before, please read this before booking a place.

To book a place click here or follow the link below.

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