March 3, 2015

Widen the Space


What a hard winter it has been, new losses in the poetry community nearly weekly -- Miller Williams, Elise Partridge, Philip Levine -- and just two weeks ago Kingston's Joanne Page, clear-minded fierce generous spirit, who showed me more than once how to stay the course.

My city is falling apart. Atrocities all over the world crowd the news.

At the same time, life surges forward: births, new books, and just last week two jays feeding each other sunflower seeds in the shrubs under the tall spruce.

What a thing it would be, if we all could fly.
But to rise on air does not make you a bird
.

I missed Ouyang Jianghe's poem "The Burning Kite" when it first appeared in Poetry in June 2011, translated by Austin Woerner. But I'm very glad to have discovered it today, together with the translator's notes:

" 'The Burning Kite' strikes me as a prime example of [what Jianghe calls] an 'empty' poem—bare architecture inviting the reader to fill it with the furniture of her thoughts. My goal as translator is to replicate this architecture, widen the space within."

Image by dailypicksandflicks.com

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