Quel honneur et quel bonheur pour nous de pouvoir terminer l'année en beauté avec un poème Qing Ping en trilangue, accompagnée d'une magnifique photo de plus, de Philippe Lekeuche qui a dirigé les études sur Baudelaire, sur Dostoïevski, sur Duras, sur Hölderlin, sur Kafka...
Dans la page "Opinions", vous trouverez une conférence de l'auteur extrêmement intéressante à propos de Hölderlin, deux pages de couverture de son oeuvre poétique, dont le dernier recueil "L'Epreuve", paru à la rentrée cette année.
Dans ma traduction, je suis rendue aux poèmes 15 et 16 des "Dix-neuf vieux poèmes" (anonymes du IIe siècle). Il me reste le 17e, le 18e et le 19e à traduire d'ici la fin de l'année. Ce sont des poèmes aux cinq syllabes (五言），de cette tradition seront nés quelques grands, que je me préparent à présenter à partir du janvier.
What an honour and what a joy for us to be able to finish the year beautifully with a trilingual Qing Ping poem, accompagnied with an amazing photography, by Philippe Lekeuche who directed studies on Beaudelaire, on Dostoïevski, en Duras, on Hölderlin, on Kafka...
In the "Opinions" page, you will find a very interesting conference of the author about Hölderlin, two cover pages of his poetry work, including his new collection "The Challenge" (L'Epreuve), published in september this year.
Ying Chen translated poems number 15 and 16 from "Nineteen old poems" (anonymes of the IIe century). Before the end of the year, she'll finish working on the last three pieces in the collection. They are all verses with five syllables. From this tradition were born a few great poets who will be presented starting in January.
Nous avons le plaisir, ce mois-ci, de montrer un poème de Mohamed Mallal, écrit dans sa langue, traduit en anglais par Ahmed Amgoune, et je l'ai adapté à la forme Qing Ping. Le poète a calligraphié l'écriture en Tamazight, puisque cela n'existe pas dans un clavier courant. C'est généreux et émouvant. L'image de cette calligraphie suggère une langue bien complexe et distincte.
Dans la page "Opinions", on aimerait attirer l'attention sur le nouveau site web de Colette Poggi, spécialisée en culture de l'Inde.
Et aussi dans la page "Opinions", Rosa Hong a traduit le poème de René de Ceccatty (présenté en septembre) en koreen! Ainsi elle a ramené notre jeu à un autre niveau!
Ying Chen continue à traduire des "Dix-neuf poèmes 古诗十九首", numéro 13 - 14. Et à noter, en Qing Ping, du quotidien anodin.
Poème 14 contient des éléments stylistiques qui seraient largement employés à des époques futures.
It is our great pleasure this month to show a poem by Mohammed Mallal, written in his mother tongue, translated by Ahmed Amgoune. I adapted the poem to Qing Ping form for our site. The poet kindly calligraphed the poem in Tamazight, because its characters are not installed on an ordinary keyboard. The image suggests a very complex and distinguish language.
In the "Opinions" page, I would like to draw you attention to the new website of Colette Poggi who specializes in Indian culture.
Also in this page, Rosa Hong translated René de Ceccatty's poem (presented in September) into Koreen! Thus she brought our game to a new level!
Ying Chen continued to translate "The Nineteen poems 古诗十九首", No 13-14. And to make notes, in Qing Ping form, the nothingness of life.
Poem 14 contains elements of the style that would be largely employed in future epochs.
Ce mois-ci nous avons beaucoup de chance de pouvoir vous montrer un extrait de l'oeuvre poétique inédite de René de Ceccatty, à qui nous devons le titre même de notre site "Isola". L'auteur a adapté son poème à la forme de Qing Ping, et l'a formulé en multiple langues.
A propos de la traduction d'un texte de Yasunari Kawabata 川端康成, René de Ceccatty a dit ceci: "Les choix de traduction (et l’on sent, ici, que les traducteurs ont tenté d’enrichir le vocabulaire japonais, ont tenté d’ajouter des nuances temporelles, ont tenté de créer des sensations évocatrices) ont en réalité de profondes conséquences interprétatives. En l’occurrence, la démarche de Kawabata a été considérablement appauvrie et aplatie par ce qui apparaissait, superficiellement, comme un raffinement dans la traduction. Les traducteurs ont tout simplement fait disparaître ce que le texte contenait de profondément singulier. Le texte français est devenu une légende de carte postale à cause du recours à des clichés poétiques empruntés à une « belle langue ». Et le principe même de la narration est détruit." (WWW.bon-à-tirer.com revue littéraire en ligne, Numéro 159, juillet 2013)
Cette rare remarque, ce point de vue "oriental" sur un certain orientalisme occidental, cette critique sans merci, serait en parfaite connivence avec notre site qui tente à présenter ce qui est probablement méconnu et mal connu, à retraduire ce qui a été probablement dénaturé, concernant la poésie classique chinoise.
Dans la page "Opinions", nous avons mis la page de couverture des trois ouvrages de René de Ceccatty reflétant l'envergure de son entreprise littéraire: son dernier roman "Le Soldat Indien"; "Mille ans de littérature japonaise", en collaboration avec Nakamura Ryôji, et sa traduction de "La Divine Comédie".
Vous trouverez en même temps un lien de son interview en anglais à propos de son parcours constitué de sauts et de plongées spectaculaires entre temps, espaces et langues. Et un autre lien de son interview en français quant à son travail sur Pasolini, lui qui en est un grand spécialiste. Un regard profond sur un destin, mais aussi sur toute une époque.
Ying Chen a traduit, en juillet, le poème numéro 7 (du "Dix-Neuf vieux poèmes") en français, et le numéro 8 en anglais. Malgré un vocabulaire enrichi, ces deux poèmes font sentir le palpitant héritage de l'écriture de "Yue Fu 乐府歌辞“(voir le numéro du mars 2021), avec la répétition d'un adjectif (皎+皎), par exemple, avec l'usage des exclamations, et avec leur tendance narrative.
Elle s'est rendue aux poèmes No 11-12 ce mois-ci.
Sur le plan de l'organisation du site, les renouvellements en seront désormais mis sur facebook et twitter. Vous seriez bienvenus de les consulter en tout temps. L'envoi par email serait aussi possible sur demande. Isola Poetry paraîtra au 3e dimanche de chaque mois, sauf les mois des vacances juillet, août et décembre. Ying Chen travaille tous les mois ses pages (Les jours vides, les jours pleins et 闲静) qui seront affichées en même temps que les renouvellements de la page Isola Poetry.
Merci beaucoup de votre participation, de votre continuel soutien et de votre attention.
This month we are honoured to introduce an extract of poetical work by René de Ceccatty. We own him even the name of our website "Isola". The author has generously adapt his verses into the Qing Ping form, and formulated them in multiple languages.
When commenting about the translation done to a piece of work by Yasunari Kawabata 川端康成, René de Ceccatty said: "The choices made by translators (here we can feel they tried to enrich the Japanese vocabulary, to differentiate time, to add evocative sensations) has profound consequences of interpretation. Yasunari Kawabata's approach has been considerably impoverished and made plainly common through apparently theirs efforts of sophistication. All singulier traits in the original version simply disappear under the hand of these translators. The French version became a legendary postcard because of the clichés of lyrisme borrowed from what is believed to be a beautiful language. The narrative principals of the author are destroyed." (WWW.bon-à-tirer.com revue littéraire en ligne, Numéro 159, juillet 2013)
This rare declaration, this "oriental" point of view about certain Western orientalism, this sharp criticism, is in perfect connivance with the spirit of Isola Poetry, where Ying Chen tries to present what might be unknown or mistaken, to retranslate what could be denatured, regarding Chinese classical poetry.
In the page of "Opinions", we shared the cover pages of René de Ceccatty"s three books, reflecting his amazingly vaste literary scope: his last novel "An Indian Solder", "A Thousand years of Japanese literature", a translation together with Nakamura Ryôji, and his translation of "Divine Comedy".
You will find, at the same time, an interview in English where René de Ceccatty tells about his literary adventure full of spectacular jumps and divings between time, space and languages. Also is shared his interview in French about Pasolini. As a specialist of this author, René de Ceccaty had a deep look at the fate of an author that reflects a whole epoch.
Ying Chen a traduit, en juillet, le poème numéro 7 (du "Dix-Neuf vieux poèmes") en français, et le numéro 8 en anglais. Malgré un vocabulaire enrichi, ces deux poèmes font sentir le palpitant héritage de l'écriture de "Yue Fu 乐府歌辞“(voir le numéro du mars 2021), avec la répétition d'un adjectif (皎+皎), par exemple, avec leur tendance narrative. Elle s'est rendue aux poèmes No 11-12 ce mois-ci.
In july, of "Nineteen old poems", Ying Chen translated the poème No 7 in French, and the No 8 in English. Although its vocabulary is relatively enriched, these two poems are evidently influenced by "Yue Fu 乐府歌辞" (see Isola Poetry March 2021). And she carried on the translation in summer.
Regarding the organizational matter, from now on, the content of this website will be renewed on the 3rd weekend of each month, except July, August and December. It will appear on Facebook and Twitter. You are welcome to visit at any time. Email mailing is also possible upon request. Ying Chen will keep working on her pages (Les jours remplis, Days filled, 清闲) also in these months.
Thank you for your participation, your continuous support and your attention.
This month we are delighted to post new Qing Ping poems by Gerda Cadostin, a beautiful and much appreciated Haitian voice. The poems are written in her mother-tongue, and self-translated.
In the "Opinions" page, we would like to draw your attention to Gerda Cadostin's very refreshing book "Let the madness run". We shared her interview with Radio France Internationale.
Also, we thank to Gabrielle Parker who recommended a very interesting article "Projections in the Haiku Manner: Richard wright, T.S.Eliot, and Transpacific Modernism" by Anita Patterson.
Ying Chen continues the translation of "The nineteen old poems" (see previous months' posts for description). Seemingly appeared before 200 ACE, during a very unstable time, the poems were probably written by women authors. That is why, maybe, they are anonymous. For the poem translated in French, aspects of syntaxes are explained. For the one in English, tonic and rime pattens are indicated. With these "Nineteen old poems", simple and naïve, should we say, was started a long tradition of poetry of unique aesthetics.
This month we are honoured to show the poems by Colette Poggi, extracts from "L'Arbre des nuits". She kindly translated them into Sanscrit with Devanagari characters. The poems are also accompanied with a magnificent watercolor by the author.
In the "Opinions" page, we would like to draw your attention to a book by Colette Poggi, a remarkable mind. And also a book by Eric Baret, presented by Colette Poggi.
And we shared a Tibetan song.
Ying Chen continues to translate "The nineteen old poems 古诗十九首". In order to respect the rythme of the poems, for the elements that would be too long to be included in a English / French version, the translator will simply put in a side note about the concerned words or their combination that could have multiple meanings.
In this website, except the work of Qu Yuan 屈原， only short form of much codified poetry (Lü Shi 律诗）is treated，because this is where we meet more difficulties in translating. However, during the same era as the "The nineteen old poems 古诗十九首" (around the end of second century ACE, see Isola Poetry April 2022), long form of poetry, or poetical essais were classified as Fu 赋。Two major differences between Shi 诗 and Fu 赋 are that, in ancient times, the first was chanted, while the second, even though still somehow codified in different ways at different epochs, was only recited and had no limitations of the number of verses.
If we compare "Fu 赋" to a flower bed, we would say "Lü Shi 律诗" resembles to a Penzai 盆栽。
This month, in the occasion of Qing Ming Jie (清明节), a holiday for people to pay visit to the lost closest ones, 须勤 (Xu Qing) wrote us two poems from Shanghai, a city hard hit by the new wave of covid for now.
In the "Opinions" page, Xu Qin sent us a video "Drumming in the temple of Yu Fo", recorded at early April. And also a very recent dance performance "The blues only 只此清绿".
Ying Chen started to translate "The nineteen old poems 古诗十九首”. These anonymous poems look similar from style to content to the Yue Fu songs. So they are also called "Yue Fu Poems 乐府诗”。They are supposedly written by the scholars living in the decades before the fall of Han Dynastie (汉朝）happened around the year 196.
The collection was edited and published by 萧统 Xiao Tong（501-531），prince of the kingdom of Liang 梁国 (today's Nanjing region). There were several small kingdoms established in the south of Chang Jiang River （长江）, from 420 to 589, under the group name given by the historians as Southern Dynasty 南朝。At the same time, the northern part of the country was occupied by other kingdoms collectively named as Northern Dynasty 北朝。Dyed young, 萧统 Xiao though left sixty volumes of selected ancient literary work "昭明文选”，in an effort to note, categorize and preserve about eight hundred years' of writings till his time. Certainly, for the editor, the "Nineteen old poems 古诗十九首” made five centuries earlier in a turbulent epoch had a resonance in his own shaking world.
The poetry translation is powerless facing the pictogram, therefore largely reductive. The pictural effects had been an essential part of Chinese poetry from antiquity till early twentieth century. To have an idea how visually it appears the poem, only just in printing form and not yet calligraphic, we could have a look at the original version in the page "繁忙的日子“。We made a routine to put the original version of each translated piece in that page, as a necessity.
This month we are very happy to post a poem by Paul Matthew St Pierre, together with one of his paintings from his substantial collection.
After translating a selection of ancient songs from Yue Fu (乐府），Ying Chen presented here a very small sample of contemporary Chinese songs. She translated into French "Walking through the fields" 陇上行，musique and words by artists from Taiwan, and also a piece made by a musician from Sichuan: "A rainy night in the mountains of Ba ". She translated into English "Coolen fireworks" by the poet Fang Wenshan (方文山）who wrote:
"... That history book
Never tolerated tenderness
All is written with much cruelty
Fireworks are easy to kill
People and events, easy to divide
But you are asking
If I am serious
A thousand years later
Feelings are accumulated
Who will still be waiting
And yet, that blue book of history
how can it be wrong..."
In the "Opinions" page, we would like to draw your attention to the web gallery of Paul St Pierre -- a truly peculiar artistic world.
We also have the pleasure to share with you the performances of all three translated songs: "Walking through the fields 陇上行" performed in 1984 by Zhang Minming 张敏明 from 香港 Xiang Gang ( Mandarin pronunciation for Hong Kong), “A rainy night in the mountains of Ba 巴山夜雨" performed by Bai Shui 白水 from 四川 （Sichuan province ), "Coolen fireworks 烟花易冷" performed by 降央卓玛 from 西藏 Xi Zang (Mandarin pronunciation for Tibet).
This month, to celebrate the Agriculture Calendar New Year (农历新年） and also Yuan Xiao 元宵节 （the fifteenth day of the traditional new year) a buddhist holiday, we are delighted to be able to post here the poems of Dai Yu 戴宇 -- a well published poet, of Tian Hong 天宏 and 刘澎 Liu Peng -- two much appreciated artists, and of Xu Qin, an important voice for us.
A special thank to Xu Qin for translating Dai Yu's poems, and to Dany Filion for translating Liu Peng's poems.
Ying Chen ends her translation of selected Yue Fu folkloric songs with "Mulin" (木兰诗).
In the "Opinions" page, we recommended a work by the philosopher and sinologue François Julien: Silent Transformations. His work is translated into Chinese by Esther Lin from Taiwan. We would also share a fascinating interview by France Culture with François Julien about the otherness.
We are very happy to start the new year with poèmes by Yves Bergeret, an extract from his very strong work: "Poème Lion-Galet", accompanied with a photography by the author made in the mountains at Die, in Southern France.
Ying Chen translated a folkloric tale "Peafowls flying to the south-west". This sad love story was circulating orally, maybe in chanted form, then it was collected in "Yue Fu 乐府". We noticed all sentences are of five syllables 五言，a fashionable writing style at the dawn of the commun era. The story might have been scripted by anonymous scholars working for Yue Fu 乐府 ("house of music and songs") - the very first ministry of arts in the country.
In the "Opinions" page, we would like to draw your attention to Yves Bergeret's fascinating blog "Carnet de la langue-espace".
Ying Chen recommended a speech by Wu Tong 吴彤 who talked about an ancient instrument Sheng 笙. During the speech he performed a traditional piece, plus the music he composed for an American movie, using 笙.
We are excited to end the year with Qing Ping poems by Mauricio Segura. Born in Chile, grown up in Montréal, he is well established Canadian writer. We thank Mauricio Segura for a photographie he made when he travelled back to his native country, we use it to replace the picture on our homepage.
Ying Chen translated another two songs from Yue Fu 乐府.
In the "Opinions" page, we would like to draw your attention to a novel by Mauricio Segura: "Eucalyptus".
And we wish you a happy New Year, by sharing an amazing performance of Bach's music played with Chinese instruments, recommended by a friend reader 蒙田 Meng Tian.
This month, our talented bilingual poet, Xu Qin, comes back with a beautiful Qing Ping poem "Dunhuang", written after her visit to 敦煌 Dunhuang, the ancient grottoes in today's Gansu Province, the once prosperous and cosmopolitan region at Tang epoch.
We want the site to be a garden of languages. In "Isola Poetry" page, if a poem appears in more than one language, it is self translated, unless otherwise noticed.
Ying Chen translated more Yue Fu 乐府 songs. She noticed while, among the Chinese ancient poems preserved till today, the majority is made by well educated and titled male authors, quite an amount of songs gathered in Yue Fu collection (乐府歌辞) seem to be written by anonymous ancient women.
In the "Opinions" page, Xu Qin wrote about the fate of Dunhuang relics at the beginning of XXe century, at the fall of Qing Dynasty.
We recommended a very well made Japanese documentary about 敦煌Dunhuang.
This month, Claude Thomas, who's been animating a poetry club, came to us with several poèmes written in Qing Ping form by the club members. We are extremely moved moved by the good quality of their writing and by such a cheerful participation. Most photos are made by Florence Lagrange, showing us the beauty of Bourgogne.
Ying Chen translated another two Yue Fu songs. They are all of verses with five syllabes, representing a tendency of detachment from speech, a taste for curbing the expression within some fixed and minimalist structure, and announcing a very formalistic poetry yet to come.
While Yue Fu songs are still quite straight forward in its meanings, there are already challenges about how to translate without alternating too much the architecture of the words which, more than anything else, is the raison d'être of such writing. For "Song of automne night", in French, Ying Chen opted to stay as close as possible to the original form, while compensating with side notes.
The side notes will become more and more important when translating this poetry that, right at the beginning, wanted to depart from "sentence" and from "discourse". A poetry where the absence sometimes of subject, the use of adjectives as verbs some other times, the omission of causality, the ambiguity or the allusions, the merge of times and places, plus the elements of sounds and tones, especially the visual effects due to the pictogramme, such poetry, where all these enter into play, can hardly be translated still as some sort of poetry, in Western syntax, without side notes.
In the "Opinions" page, Yves Bergeret (see Isola Poetry Decembre 2020) wrote us a brilliant explanation about the term "vévé" used in the much appreciated Qing Ping poems by Gerda Cadostin (see Isola Poetry September 2021).
Recently we are saddened by our successive loss of two great sinologues: Cecilia Lindqvist and Léon Vandermeersch. We presented their work in their memory.
This month we have great pleasure to share Qing Ping poems made by the talented haitian author Gerda Cadostin. Written in créole language, auto-translated into French, these poems bring us to a very refreshing magic world.
Ying Chen translated two more Yue Fu songs : « At the viewpoint » in English and « The Wings » into French.
In the « Opinions » page, we would like to recommend an interview by TV5 with Gerda Cadostin, about her recently published book « Laisse folie courir».
We also would share a short video presentation made by Cynthia Lam and Rita Zeng, regarding what Asian heritage could offer in the sustainable living contexte.
We would like to present a poem by Mohamed Mallal. Professor of visual arts in Quazzarrat, wellknown in southern Maroc, he practices various art forms, and is also an interpretor of amazigh language. We are absolutely trilled by its version in Tifinagh, the most ancient language, as we know so far. We attached a photo of it, for your contemplation.
We are also pleased to be able to show you a poem by Senam Demirkan, written in Turkish and self-translated into English.
Ying Chen translated into English « Oh the Highest 上邪» (from the section ‘Songs and airs for drums and flutes’ of « Yue Fu Songs 乐府歌辞 » ), and into French « The one who occupies my mind 有所思». The corresponding original versions can be found in the page "繁忙的日子“。Ying Chen continues to record her country life in Qing Ping form。
In the « Opinions » page, we wish you would enjoy a popular song « Bright flowers », a bilingual performance by 玉米提 Umit from Xing Jiang.
And we shared an article in French about the preservation of Xinjiang’s very poetical tchagatay manuscripts.
It is our immense pleasure to show here the poetry of Zinaida Zavadskaia, translated by her daughter Natasha Zavadskaia, and also the poetry of Natasha Zavadskaia herself. While the works of both are equally beautiful, you would probably notice their difference in style, state of mind and vision. We are very much enchanted by these exquisite verses.
Accompanying the poems, the photo is made by Natasha Zavadskaia as well, a sublime beauty, her birth place Carélie .
Ying Chen continues to translate the ancient folkloric Yue Fu Songs 乐府歌辞:
- In French, she is presenting an anti-war song “Battles” 战城南 (from the section « Songs and airs for drums and for flutes 鼓吹曲辞»).
- And in English, « So high is the Sorceler Mountain 巫山高 », about a migrant’s sorrow.
In the “opinions” page, we shared a Russian love song “An Evening outside of Moscow”, a song known by literally everyone in China, a bilingual performance in 2018 by the famous, aged 77 at the time, Yang Hong-Ji.
We recommended the books by Antoine Volodine, telling stories about post apocalyptical world. This is in our sense one of the most unusual voices in contemporary literature. His work is translated into English and studied in China.
This month we are glad to show poems by Ook Chung. Born in Japan from Korean parents, living in Canada since the age of two, he had very troublesome school experiences as an Asian young boy in a situation of being minority. Today he is considered as one of the most brilliant and singuliar writer in Canada and abroad.
Ying Chen has translated a Yue Fu Song 乐府歌, « Journey to the west陇西行» . The form of five words five syllabes 五言is confirmed here, it will be followed and practiced by the next generations of poets. Those who haven’t read our previous posts could find in « What is new » for March, some explanations of Yue Fu Songs.
People may find it strange that it took centuries for the verses to move from four syllabes to five syllabes, but this is how the Chinese written language, at least its poetical language, was initially formed : it works less as a flow of water, as the record or the transcript of speech, than as a painting where are combined in various way the existing words which are images themselves. The best future poems would achieve their extraordinary beauty not only because of the actual meaning of the words, but also through their combination, through the unspoken between the words, between the lines, between the sounds. After the ancient Chinese language was reformed at the dawn of the 20th century, consisting mainly in linking the writting more to the speech, the modern Chinese language still contains relatively few fixed vocabulary, it still works as a lego where the game of variation of symbols seems to be as free as infinite.
The original poems in Chinese can be found in the page “繁忙的日子“。
In the « Opinions » page, we would like to draw your attention to two books by Ook Chung : L’Expérience interdite and Trilogie coréenne.
We shared a link about South Korea people’s strong reaction to Japan’s decision of Fukushima nuclear water dumping.
Finally we wish you would enjoy a traditional Korean song performed in its original version by the famous singer Huo Zun 霍尊.
For the month of May which is now named as “Asian Heritage Month” in Canada, our thoughts are for the people and the culture of India that have profound and lasting influence on most part of the Eastern Asia. It is our honour to show here, the extracts in both French and Sanskrit from “The tree of the nights”, a collection of poems by Colette Poggi, specialist of Indian culture.
Ying Chen translated two ancient Yue Fu Songs (乐府歌辞)： into French, an extract from“Mo Shang Sang 陌上桑 (Mulberry road)”，a chanted story about a beautiful married farmer laday who refuses the advances of a wealthy man travelling in the region ; into English, “Hao Lu 蒿露 (The Dew on the grass) ”，a song for funerals. The choice of the pieces are made for their variety, and for their authentic folklorical nature, their belonging to the ancient oral tradition.
According to Professor Jiang Yun 蒋韵 who teaches in Taiwan, today there still exist, in some part of Northern China, local artists who would sing a story so long that it lasts for days.
« Mo Shang Sang » is among one of the earliest writings that follow the rule of five words and five syllabes for all verses. A form called « poetry of five words 五言诗» will be practiced by the contemporary and the future poets, with further limitation of the number of verses, usually till a maximum of eight. Chinese poetry since its beginning tends to be minimalist and formalist.
In the “Opinions” page, which is now placed right after the "Busy days" page, Jeanne Pham Tran, editor of The Equator Publishing House, presented “Bhagavad Gîtâ”, a book where Colette Poggi presented this ancient tale which is, in many ways, fundamentally important even today.
We included a radio interview where Colette Poggi provided in depth explanations about this epic poem, an important piece in the history of thinking.
Also in the page of “Opinions”, Isola Poetry shared an impressive lecture by Dr Vandana Shiva, “The food of the future”, made in 2014 at Arizona University
This month we are delighted to share a poem by Dai Yu 戴宇 describing the end of the winter season.
Born in Shanghai, graduated from Fudan University in sciences, working and living in Japan since 1991, Dai Yu has published two much praised collections of poems: “The Snow beyond the world”《世界之外的雪》and “A Spring graved on the wall”《刻在墙上的春天》. We thank to Xu Qin who translated for us Dai Yu’s poems into English.
Ying Chen continues to translate Yue Fu (乐府) songs which are the origins of the Chinese ancient poetry and are still influencing the writing of today’s popular Chinese songs.
In the « Opinions » page, Isola Poetry presented two « free verses» poems by Dai Yu. His work is a show case of contemporary Chinese poets who write modern style verses, while deeply formed with classic poetry and able to write in ancient form, such as the Qing Ping (清平乐) 。
Also in the « Opinions » page, in the occasion of April’s « Earth Day », Ying Chen, author of the book « Radiance » published in French in 2021, would like to draw attention to an article by « The Diplomat» regarding the very troublesome and unsolved Fukushima disaster. Japan declaired this month its intention to dump un estimated 1.4 milion tones of much questioned nuclear waste water into the Pacific ocean.
We are very moved to receive from Carl Strömbäck his poems with intense light and silence. He started to write poetry after a second stroke that partially paralised him. He found back his strength through writing and has been animating a poetry club. We are thankful to Françoise Sule for the translation.
Ying Chen started to translate a selection of songs belonging to Yue Fu (乐府诗)。Those songs were in fashion during the epoches of Qin, of Han and of Wei Jing North and South (221BCE-581ACE). A ministry of the culture (乐府) was first established during the Qin Dynasty, expanded by future emperors, with the tasks to collect the popular and folkloric songs from different regions, to put them in order, to add on the musical notes, to use them at praying ceremonies, and to organize chanting and dancing shows. While the musical books are lost, lots of written songs have remained, thanks to their publication during the Han Epoch, around the year 200.
Song North epoch （around year 1000) republished Yue Fu songs and poems (100 volumes, 5400 songs and poems divided under 12 musical forms), reflecting the aspiration of that time to « return to the sources ».
It will take an entire year to translate little by little the anomynous writings of Yue Fu, which largely influenced the poets for generations to come.
Some tend to gather the anomynous songs and the poems written by well-known poets according to the same musical airs under one same catagorie as Yue Fu Poetry. Yet, Ying Chen chooses to make a distinction between songs 歌 and poems 诗, although the two are closely related and today a combined word 诗歌 is used to designate poetry. For example, one writes 诗, but one performs a 诗歌 reading.
The Yue Fu songs being still quite narrative and closer to the spoken language, they can be translated in a straight forward way. But the poems written according to Yue Fu musical airs would be composed with a different spirit. It was more a matter of the forms than of the meanings. They were often presented as a stylistic work, or as a method for meditation, or as an internalized architecture similar to Penzai 盆栽 （planting in a plate), just like most futur Chinese classical poems that often deconstruct the syntax. Considerations about the language structure are therefore more than necessary, while translating. The translator will come back with details to this very crucial topic after she will finish translating the songs.
In the « Opinions » page, Françoise Sule presents, in French, a quite surprising book by Elin Anna Labba : « Herrarna satte oss hit. Om tvangsförflyttningarna i Sverige» (« Those men who moved us here – the forced displacement in Sweden »).
Ying Chen would recommand the most recent interview made by Etienne Klein about the soul of the iceberg.
Happy new lunar year ! Hopefully we left a troublesome year and entered into a normal year for everybody.
To celebrate the Spring Holidays, we are happy to share the poems of several Chinese participants : talented Ange Guo, student, Xu Qin, bilingual poet and writer whom we already know, Wu Wei, art journalist, Peng Liu the painter whom we also know, Zhi Qiang Guo, artist and translator, and Lee Chen, student.
Ying Chen continues to translate Qu Yuan (340-278BCE) : extracts from « Tian Wen天问 »（ « Questions to the Sky the Highest » 172 verses) and from « Li Sao 离骚 » (« Melancoly of the Farewell » 374 verses).
Qu Yuan was an enormous figure in ancient time, for his geopolitical thinking, for his pro-reform posture, for his septicism, and above all, for his achievement in creating a whole new poetical form in his time. He was one of the rares who enriched Chinese poetry with colorful elements of shamanic traditions and rituals.
In the Opinions page, Isola Poetry shared an inspiring speech by Alan Alda on the quantum world.
Xu Qun made a presentation about Chinese traditional Calendar still in use today in various ways, for agriculture, gardening, weather prediction, body care, etc. Most traditional holidays are celebrated according to this calendar.
We are begining the year, here, with a sequence of very impressive poems: that grace facing the extermination of the body ; that after-life in the form of words and images. The pomes are composed in both Michif (a Metis dialect) and English. The author, Chris Harris, was raised by his Metis grandmother, while his mother had to work in the mills. Chris Harris’s artistic world is quite uncommon to our view. The accompanying image is section from his painting entitled as « Metis Poem ». His numerous past shows include NeoPersona Gallery (New York) and Grand Forks Art Gallery (Grand Forks).
Ying Chen is presenting extracts from two poems of Chu style (楚辞), by Qu Yuan (屈原340-278BCA)。Minister and diplomate of the Kingdom of Chu (楚国927-223BCA), at a time where his kingdom was challenged by the northern kingdom of Qin (秦国)，Qu Yuan’s advises were repeatedly rejected by the corrupted court and he was forced to leave. Two years after Qin’s army conquered Chu’s capital city, the poet terminated his own life in the river of Xiang (湘江)。
In the « Opinions » page, we shared the website of our much appreciated artist Chris Harris.
In the same page, as a memorial to Fu Cong (1934-2020) who, on December 28, 2020, passed away of Covid19 in London, great pianist and considered as one of Chopin’s best interpretrers, son of the famous Fu Lei who translated many French authors, Isola Poetry shared an interview with Fu Cong made by Polish Music Institute in September 2015. The pianist said he was « still trying hard, digging into the truth », because he felt he was still far from it.
In her page in Chinese, Ying Chen shared Scarlatti’s Sonate 108, performed by Fu Cong, in 1968, two years after the suicide of his both dignified parents in 1966. Plus an extremely interesting interview with him conducted by Anthony Wang (the recording quality isn’t very good), where Fu Cong commented on the contemporary ever more superficial world.
We would like to share with you two extracts from Yves Bergeret's “Poème Lion-Galet”, accompanied by an image of his art piece inspired by the drawings of Alguima Guindo (in Koyo). A generous voice that wishes the Other to be heard.
Ying Chen is preparing to translate extracts of Chu Ci (楚辞)，a form of poetry practiced south of Chang Jiang (长江)，and reached its best during the period of Zhan Guo (战国 475BCE--221BCE)。The representing figure was Qu Yuan (屈原 340BCE--278BCE). Considered as the father of Chinese poetry, he had lived a tragic life.
At first, two popular songs of Chu are presented this month.
Influenced by folk songs and shamanic chanting, Chu Ci follows no stylistic rules, thus occupies a distinct place.
With its narrative trend, it also announced a new literary form « Fu » (赋), the rhymed prose, that would be practiced by future generations.
In her page in Chinese, Ying Chen shared an interview made by RFI in 2014 with Zhao Ting Yang 赵汀阳, who compared the Western and Chinese philosophy.
In the « Opinions » page, Rosa Hong left a message regarding Marguerite Yourcenar.
We shared a link of « Carnet de langue-espace », which brings us to a dreamy, virgin and animist world. There, you will find out more about Yves Bergeret’s remarkable « african notebook ».
Finally, we want to thank again Joseph Dillman, Charlie Zhou, Peng Liu, Jonathan Merlo, René de Ceccatty, Xu Qin and Yves Bergeret for their precious participation, and the ones who have been kindly supporting us.
We would like to share with you a poem by René de Ceccatty, written in four languages! Author of “Accompanying”, translator of Dôgen and of Dante, Biographer of Pasolini, René de Ceccatty has generously transformed his haiku poem into Qing Ping, a more Chinese rythme.
Inspired by René’s approach, we will add Pinyin 拼音(notes of pronounciation) to verses in Chinese. We also learned from Muriel Dutrie the syllabe counting method, useful in Chinese poetry translating.
Xu Qin, who last month wrote about the Double Ninth Day, comes back this month with a poem about the automne, a much apreciated season in Chinese poetry tradition.
In the page of “Opinions”, you will find comments by Muriel Dutrie, who translated Liu Yong 柳永，and by René de Ceccatty, concerning the troublesome translation of the ancient East-Asian poetry in to the polysyllable French.
In the same page, we also shared the link of an interview made by France Culture with Jean Vaillant, author of “The Golden Tree”, regarding the current state of Canadian forest, and much more.
Ying Chen presented the last two extracts from "The Book of Poetry 诗经."
This month we have the privilege to be able to share a very strong poem written in both Italian and French, by Jonathan Merlo, born in the country of Basque, now living in Italy and teaching French to university students. The photo that accompanies the poem was made at Val di Merse, in his region Toscane.
On the occasion of the Double Ninth Day, from Shanghai, we received a poem by Xu Qin, who studied English literature in late 90s and who writes in both Chinese and English. We are very much moved.The Double Ninth Day is a holiday traditionally dedicated to celestial NATURE and to ancestors,
This holiday has now become Parents Day and Seniors Day as well. On that day, considered as the "strongest day" (double Yang) of the year, it is important to climb mountains and drink tea or wine made with chrysanthemums, in order to purify mind and body, and to be ready to face the darker days that will follow.
We have received comments from Hélène Armit, Gabrielle Parker, Rosa Hong and Yao Jie, to which Ying Chen reacted in her "busy days" pages. The feedback from Peng Liu and Dany Filion is also taken into the consideration regarding the web presentation. Here again we deeply thank our friends supporters.
Finally, a word about the shorterned Qing Ping form:
While there are similarities between "our form" and haiku, we have several reasons to choose the former; which requires a lengthy book to explain. Here we will limit ourselves to translate and to present a few sample of ancient Chinese poetry before the year 1200 approximatively.