“Light is meaningful only in relation to darkness, and truth presupposes error. It is these mingled opposites which people our life, which make it pungent, intoxicating. We only exist in terms of this conflict, in the zone where black and white clash.”—
Deeper than sleep but not so deep as death I lay there dreaming and my magic head remembered and forgot. On first cry I remembered and forgot and did believe. I knew love and I knew evil: woke to the burning song and the tree burning blind, despair of our days and the calm milk-giver who knows sleep, knows growth, the sex of fire and grass, renewal of all waters and the time of the stars and the black snake with gold bones.
Black sleeps, gold burns; on second cry I woke fully and gave to feed and fed on feeding. Gold seed, green pain, my wizards in the earth walked through the house, black in the morning dark. Shadows grew in my veins, my bright belief, my head of dreams deeper than night and sleep. Voices of all black animals crying to drink, cries of all birth arise, simple as we, found in the leaves, in clouds and dark, in dream, deep as this hour, ready again to sleep.
“Sometimes fate is like a small sandstorm that keeps changing direction. You change direction, but the sandstorm chases you. You turn again, but the storm adjusts. Over and over you play this out, like some ominous dance with death just before dawn. Why? Because this storm is not something that blew in from far away, something that has nothing to do with you. This storm is you. Something inside you. So all you can do is give in to it, step right into the storm, closing your eyes and plugging up your ears so the sand does not get in, and walk through it, step by step. There is no sun there, no moon, no direction, no sense of time. Just fine white sand swirling up into the sky like pulverised bones. That is the kind of sandstorm you need to imagine.”—
“According to the current way of thinking (or not-thinking), it seems that if we are to enjoy anything then we must not have to think about it, and, conversely, if we are to think about anything, then we mustn’t enjoy it. This is a calamitous and idiotic division of functions.”—
Barbara Wright, during a talk about translating Raymond Queneau, April 1, 1958
Anomalous Press announces its first-ever chapbook contest!
March 15 – May 15
$500 prize plus publication!
Finalist manuscripts will also be considered for publication, and all submissions will be considered for publication in the journal.
We will publish the winning manuscript in each of the following categories:
Translations. Specifically innovative translations, translations that draw attention to themselves, hybrid translations, translations that defy convention, translations that prey on, magnify, distort, and bring greatness to source texts.
Poetry. Original poetry.
Christian Hawkey will judge the translation category.
Christian Hawkey is the author of Petitions for an Alien Relative (a chapbook by hand held editions, 2010), Ventrakl (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2010), Citizen Of (Wave Books, 2007), Hour, Hour, a chapbook which includes drawings by the artist Ryan Mrowzowski (Delirium Press, 2006), and The Book of Funnels (Verse Press, 2004), winner of the 2006 Kate Tufts Discovery Award. In 2006 he was given a Creative Capital Innovative Literature Award and he has also received awards from the Poetry Fund and the Academy of American Poets. He teaches at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York.
“You must understand the whole of life. Not just one little part of it. That is why you must read. That is why you must look at the skies. That is why you must sing and dance, and write poems, and suffer, and understand, For all that is life.”—
Worldly matters again draw my steps; Worldly things again seduce my heart. Whenever for long I part from Li Chien Gradually my thoughts grow narrow and covetous. I remember how once I used to visit you; I stopped my horse and tapped at the garden-gate. Often when I came you were still lying in bed; Your little children were sent to let me in. And you, laughing, ran to the front-door With coat-tails flying and cap all awry. On the swept terrace, green patterns of moss; On the dusted bench, clean shadows of leaves. To gaze at the hills we sat in the eastern lodge; To wait for the moon we walked to the southern moor. At your quiet gate only birds spoke; In your distant street few drums were heard. Opposite each other all day we talked, And never once spoke of profit or fame. Since we parted hands, how long has passed? Thrice and again the full moon has shone. For when we parted the last flowers were falling, And to-day I hear new cicadas sing. The scented year suddenly draws to its close, Yet the sorrow of parting is still unsubdued.
“He walked on in silence, the solitary sound of his footsteps echoing in his head, as in a deserted street, at dawn. His solitude was so complete, beneath a lovely sky as mellow and serene as a good conscience, amid that busy throng, that he was amazed at his own existence: he must be somebody else’s nightmare, and whoever it was would certainly awaken soon.”—
“Two aesthetics exist: the passive aesthetic of mirrors and the active aesthetic of prisms. Guided by the former, art turns into a copy of the environment’s objectivity or the individual’s psychic history. Guided by the latter, art is redeemed, makes the world into its instrument, and forges—beyond spatial and temporal prisons—a personal vision.”—
Jacobo Sureda, Fortunio Bonanova, Juan Alomar and Jorge Luis Borges in their ‘Ultra Manifesto’ (translated from the Spanish by Suzanne Jill Levine)
Liao Yiwu God is Red: The Secret Story of How Christianity Survived and Flourished in Communist China Translated by Wenguang Huang HarperOne, September 2011. 256 pp.
_____. The Corpse Walker: Real Life Stories: China from the Bottom Up Translated by Wen Huang Anchor, May 2009. 352 pp.
Publication of hagiographies of Christian missionaries and converts in China has a long tradition in the West. Throughout the 19th century, Western missionary societies raised funds for their work by selling popular pamphlets and devotional material extolling their virtuous sacrifices. Martyrological literature peaked during and after the Boxer Uprising of 1900, as books and pamphlets described the heroism of Christians in the face of the rabidly violent Chinese mob.
Christian missionaries continued to produce tales of heroism in their journals and pamphlets into the 1930s, but the focus of the stories had changed, the enemy transformed from an ideologically nondescript mob into an organized Communist insurgency. After the Communist victory in China in 1949, accounts of Christian suffering in the hands of Communists continued to appear regularly in missionary tracts. After the expulsion of foreign missionaries in the early 1950s, narratives of Christian suffering in China were leaked to the West, the heroes now not Westerners but Chinese Christian preachers who suffered under Communist persecution.
A surprising recent contribution to this corpus of Chinese Christian hagiography is Liao Yiwu’s God is Red: The Secret Story of How Christianity Survived and Flourished in Communist China. What is unusual is the biography of the author. Liao, who is not a Christian, made news earlier this year when he left China for Germany, after having been denied a visa for foreign travel for more than a decade, and declared himself officially a writer-in-exile. Born in 1958, Liao belongs to the same generation of Chinese dissidents as Liu Xiaobo, the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010 for his work in authoring the dissident manifesto Charter 08, which Liao also signed. Like Liu, Liao came of age during the Cultural Revolution; his father, a schoolteacher, was considered a counterrevolutionary. The young Liao failed to gain admission once universities were reopened in 1977, and he spent several years as a truck driver, at the same time immersing himself in the writings of Western poets. In the early 1980s, he became involved in the underground avant-garde poetry scene, while at the same time supporting himself as a “propaganda” author for the government.
“I have this strange feeling that I’m not myself anymore. It’s hard to put into words, but I guess it’s like I was fast asleep, and someone came, disassembled me, and hurriedly put me back together again. That sort of feeling.”—