Influenced by both the “gray, sinister sea” near the village where Yi Lu grew up during the Cultural Revolution, and the beauty of the sea in the books she read as a child, Sea Summit is a collection of paradox and questioning. The sea is an impossible force to the poet: it is both a majestic presence that predates man, and something to carry with us wherever we go, to be put “by an ancient rattan chair,” so we can watch “its waves toss” from above. Exploring the current ecological crisis and our complicated relationship to the wildness around us, Yi Lu finds something more complex than a traditional nature poet might in the mysterious connection between herself and the forces of nature represented by the boundless ocean.
Translated brilliantly by the acclaimed poet Fiona Sze-Lorrain, this collection of poems introduces an important contemporary Chinese poet to English-language readers.
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Praise and Prizes
“Slippery, resonant poetry full of nuanced and subtle scene-making. Sea Summit makes a strong case for Yi Lu’s poetic importance beyond her linguistic and national borders.”
“Yi Lu enters the ‘gigantic network’ of nature, the ‘rowdy conference room’ of the sea summit, and they, in turn, pass through her, resulting in poems of particular intensity, mystery, and transaction. This is the visionary potential of ecopoetry: a practice that invites the presence of wind, butterfly, storm to meet and disrupt us, just as they disrupt and interrupt each other and the rest of the world.”
“This communal and visceral experience reminds me of the theatre. . . . Yi Lu’s images are masterful in a way that, perhaps, only a theatre scenographer might envision. They reflect, support, and converse with the condition of the speaker. And, like curtains, these private experiences are torn open in a theater where there is no fourth wall; as we read, we’re immersed in each scene, each poem, via the stage that is Yi Lu’s sensitive and poignant poetry.”
“Luminous . . . Utterly original and absorbing . . . The poems of Sea Summit are vibrant and crystalline in Fiona Sze-Lorain’s remarkable translation. . . . They represent a carefully crafted intersection between the original Chinese and the English, a prismatic lens through which the original Chinese sparkles, transforms, and insistently sings.”
“A generous introduction to English readers . . . Fiona Sze-Lorrain’s steadfast translations, presented en-face, make accessible one of China’s most famous woman poets.”