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Water Sprite- Luo Ying, translated by Denis Mair
$17.00, ISBN 978-1-945680-74-8

Luo Ying is best-known for poems that give voice to his experiences during the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976) when he was one of the “sent-down youth.” The poems in Water Sprite show us that despite his experiences during those years, his individual voice was not crushed beneath the weight of ideology. In poems that harkens back to the observations in classical Chinese poetry, Ying focuses on small and often unobserved aspects of the natural world.  His words paint delicate pictures of a world, and a psyche, that remained intact—though not untouched—through turmoil and chaos.

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Praise for his previous volume, 7 + 2 A Mountain Climber’s Journal:

“Luo Ying’s 7 + 2 A Mountain Climber’s Journal, which he calls ‘mankind’s first “7 + 2 Poetry Action,” ’ is the poetic record of his successful summiting of the tallest peaks on every continent and his treks to the North and South Poles. He documents in searing detail his encounters, in the most extreme conditions, with other climbers, Sherpas, and himself. ‘While the rest of the world is sleeping,’ he writes, ‘I’m striding toward the light’—and that light shines on every page of this extraordinary book. For ‘the mountain god has allowed [him] to bring back from the mountains a way of being that is natural, assured, and collected.’ This is wisdom literature of the highest order.”

—Christopher Merrill, author of Necessities

 

“These poems simultaneously celebrate the human spirt and the natural world, just as they critique our impact on the very landscapes within which we dwell. It is my hope that these poems become like mountain passes, navigable routes through the mountain range of different languages, cultures, classes, and ecological experiences. Our planet’s most magnificent mountain ranges have long presented humans with forbidding barriers to travel, trade, and communication, and as such have become deeply lodged into our species psyche. While summiting peaks may provide fleeting moments of nearly omniscient perspective, poetry can serve as lasting passes through which we may cross for generations to come.”

— Jonathan Stallings

Luo Ying is the pen name of Huang Nubo. Born in 1956 in Ningxia Province, China, he has published eleven collections of poetry and fiction. His work has been translated into English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Turkish, Mongolian, Spanish and Icelandic. He is also an intrepid mountaineer and a key member of the Explorers Club in New York City. A successful Chinese real estate developer and entrepreneur, he is also founder of the Zhongkun Poetry Development Fund, the Sino-Japanese Poetry Fund, and the Sino-Icelandic Poetry Fund. He serves as Vice-President of the China Poetry Association and Standing Deputy-Dean of the China Poetry Institute at Peking University, where he started the first Poet-in-Residence program. Luo Ying has initiated many international poetry festivals and has established exchanges among Chinese and South American poets. He also established the Zhongkun International Poetry Prize, sponsored China Poetry Institute at Peking University.

Currently engaged in a en-year plan to visit all the world’s cultural heritage sites, Luo Ying strives to protect the environment and its creatures. He is a board member of WildAid International and chairman of WildAid China. Luo Ying’s website is www.luoying.me.

 

Denis Mair has translated the work of numerous Chinese poets into English, including the volumes Reading the Times: Poems of Yan Zhi and Selected Poems by Mai Cheng.

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