Bloom, translator Lucas Klein’s second selection of the prominent contemporary poet Xi Chuan (b. 1963) sings and theorizes what it means to have a body and to write, to love books in a materialist culture, and to be Chinese in a wide range of global and historical contexts. Elliptic lyric seekers need not knock. These are garrulous rhapsodies and charismatic meditations…Klein’s propulsive translation gets at the poem’s focus on breath, rhythm, mantra as ways of capturing the reader in the poem; this flirtation and its strategies are the real subject of the poem. It’s a good gateway. The reader’s very body becomes part of the poem: we’re hooked in.
—Noah Warren, Astra Magazine

A rhapsodic meditation on the dreams and defeats, disparities and excesses, mythologies and absurdities of contemporary life

Bloom & Other Poems

Poetry by Xi Chuan

Translated by Lucas Klein

“Bloom and change your way of living,” Xi Chuan exhorts us. “Bloom / unleash a deep underground spring with your rhizome.” In his wildly roving new collection, Bloom & Other Poems, Xi Chuan, like a modern-day master of the fu-rhapsody, delves into the incongruities of daily existence, its contradictions and echoes of ancient history, with sensuous exaltations and humorous observations. Problems of mourning and reading, thoughts on loquaciousness, Manhattan, the Luxor Temple, and socks are scrutinized, while in other poems we encounter dead friends on a visit to a small village and fakes in an antique market. At one moment we follow the river’s flow through the history of Nanjing, in another we follow an exquisite meditation on the meaning of the golden. Brimming with lyrical beauty and philosophical intensity, the collection ends with a transcript of a conversation between Xi Chuan and the journalist Xu Zhiyuan that earned seventy million views when broadcast online. Award-winning translator Lucas Klein demonstrates in this remarkable bilingual edition that Xi Chuan is one of the most electrifying international poets writing today.

Buy from:

Paperback (published July 12, 2022)

ISBN
9780811231374
Price US
22.95
Trim Size
6x9
Page Count
176
Bloom, translator Lucas Klein’s second selection of the prominent contemporary poet Xi Chuan (b. 1963) sings and theorizes what it means to have a body and to write, to love books in a materialist culture, and to be Chinese in a wide range of global and historical contexts. Elliptic lyric seekers need not knock. These are garrulous rhapsodies and charismatic meditations…Klein’s propulsive translation gets at the poem’s focus on breath, rhythm, mantra as ways of capturing the reader in the poem; this flirtation and its strategies are the real subject of the poem. It’s a good gateway. The reader’s very body becomes part of the poem: we’re hooked in.
—Noah Warren, Astra Magazine
The thrill of this collection arises from Chuan’s charismatic voice, vividly rendered by Klein, and the unexpected turns from the intellectual to the sensual, from the absurd to the dead-serious.
—Heather Green, Poetry
Xi Chuan’s new poems, in Lucas Klein’s splendid translations, reveal an important body of work American readers should know.
—Arthur Sze
Xi Chuan doesn’t just ‘let a hundred flowers bloom’: even three thousand isn’t enough, ‘bloom one hundred eight thousand times!’ Within this abundance, he shuttles between East and West, lets his thoughts roam from the time of the Warring States to Disney, from ‘the joy of stinky feet’ to ‘Cultural Revolution armbands.’ With delightful wit and irony. What remains unstated is the possible cost of such blooming in China. But it is there as an undertone in the humor and gives the poems their extraordinary power.
—Rosmarie Waldrop