Poetry on the Mainland: Talk about Work

2015-2016 School of Chinese Seminar

Poetry on the Mainland: Talk about Work

Eleanor Goodman
Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, Harvard University

Date and Time: March 21, 2016 (Monday); 5:30-6:45pm
Venue: Room 730, Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus, HKU

Work is multifaceted and complex topic: What do we mean when we say ‘work’? What constitutes work? Who gets to do what kind of work? How should different workers be dealt with and compensated? What about the disparity of wealth that stems from ideas about the value of different kinds of work? This talk will explore the poetry of three contemporary mainland Chinese poets who fruitfully address these and other questions about work from a variety of angles: Wang Xiaoni as an empathetic witness; Xu Lizhi as a manual laborer; and Zang Di as an intellectual observer.

Eleanor Goodman is a Research Associate at the Harvard Fairbank Center. Her book of translations, Something Crosses My Mind: Selected Poems of Wang Xiaoni (Zephyr Press, 2014) was awarded the 2015 Lucien Stryk Prize. The book was also shortlisted for the International Griffin Prize. A collection of her own poetry, Nine Dragon Island, which was shortlisted for the Drunken Boat First Book Prize, will be published this year.


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