river-merchants-wife RIVER MERCHANT'S WIFE

Ming Di

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Ming Di

Translated from Chinese by Tony Barnstone, Neil Aitken, Afaa Weaver, Katie Farris, and Sylvia Burn with the author.

Publication Date: November 2012
90 Pages
ISBN13:  978-1-934851-43-2
USD $14.95 + Shipping

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The world Ming Di constructs in River Merchant’s Wife is a richly complex one, operating in a twilight of loss and discovery and bounded by history and legend. Her work is surreal at times, creating a tableau of mythic dimensions. It is a world populated by the ghosts of composers and artists, their presences haunting the margins of the poems, while a personal narrative threads its way through, donning masks and adopting voices, reconfiguring the spaces and characters of each moment to reveal what always seems unsayable and unknown.

About the Author, Ming Di  

Ming Di (penname of Mindy Zhang) was born in Wuhan, a river city in central China. With BA in English and MA in Linguistics she pursued doctoral studies at Boston University before moving to California where she writes in Chinese and publishes in China and Taiwan. Author of six collections in Chinese and editor of Poetry East West, a bilingual literary journal, she also translates poetry and literary essays from English to Chinese with two volumes published and two forthcoming.

About the Translators:  

Tony Barnstone  

Tony Barnstone is The Albert Upton Professor of English at Whittier College and the author of twelve books including Tongue of War: From Pearl Harbor to Nagasaki, winner of the John Ciardi Prize in Poetry; The Golem of Los Angeles, winner of the Benjamin Saltman Award in Poetry, etc. He earned his PhD from the University of California at Berkeley and is also a distinguished translator of Chinese poetry and literary essays, including The Anchor Book of Chinese Poetry, Laughing Lost in the Mountains: Poems of Wang Wei, and Chinese Erotic Poems.

Neil Tangaroa Aitken  

Neil Aitken is the author of The Lost Country of Sight (winner of the 2007 Philip Levine Prize for Poetry), the founding editor of Boxcar Poetry Review, and a contributing editor for Poetry East West. A Canadian of Chinese and Scottish descent, he presently lives in Los Angeles where he is completing a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Southern California.

Afaa Michael Weaver  

Afaa Michael Weaver (Michael S. Weaver) studied translation at Brown University where in 1987 he completed the MFA program. He began studying Mandarin formally in 2002 and completed the intermediate level course at Taipei Language Institute in 2004-05. His 12th book of poetry will be published by U of Pittsburgh Press in 2012. He holds an endowed chair at Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts.

Katie Farris  

Katie Farris is the author of BOYSGIRLS and co-translator of Polina Barskova's This Lamentable City. Her work has appeared in various journals. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at San Diego State University.

Sylvia Burn  

Sylvia Burn is from New Orleans, Louisiana. She is a student of Literature and Creative Writing at Whittier College in California. She hopes to pursue a career in writing, editing, and translation in the future.


… genuine and imaginative
—Robert Pinsky

These poems show a distinct sensibility. They are intimate, fresh, and translucent. This remarkable volume illustrates the poet's wide range and unique art.
—Ha Jin

“I was surprised by Ming Di’s repertoire of poems – so lyrical, so intense, so learned in their associations. Erotic, deep images on the move, but nothing static as they flow into a sensual music – unlike the quirky leaps of Bly’s imagery, worlds cohere, and the East is West and the West is East and the twain does meet and breeds throughout so many of the poems in this marvelous collection.”
—Kerry Shawn Keys







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