Translation from NER 36.2
Currently I cannot say that I understand the valley
understand the petal-like, windborne unfolding of her confession
full moon night in the underbrush, ladybugs flutter
like the grains of stars falling into the valley’s wet creases
someone says: the full moon can trigger a kind of savage snow . . .
I believe that this is a simple truth: tonight
when the biting cold of silence crushes my stone house.
—translated from the Chinese by Nick Admussen
Ya Shi is the author of four collections of poetry and one of prose, including the celebrated collection The Qingcheng Poems, as well as a special issue of the alternative magazine Blade devoted to his work. He is a winner of the Liu Li’an prize, and has served as the editor of several influential unofficial poetry journals. His work has appeared in English in Poetry International, New Cathay: Contemporary Chinese Poetry, and is forthcoming in Asymptote and Drunken Boat. A graduate of Beijing University, he currently teaches mathematics at a university near the city of Chengdu.
Nick Admussen is an assistant professor of Chinese literature and culture at Cornell University. He has translated the work of Ya Shi, Zang Di, Genzi, and Liu Xiaobo; his original poetry has appeared in Fence, Blackbird, and Sou’wester. He blogs on Chinese poetry in American life for the Boston Review; his first book, on contemporary Chinese prose poetry, will be published with the Hawaii University Press. You can find him on Twitter @nadmussen.