Directional Denotations: Yuan Changming

September 19, 2017

 

"No art without startle." The opening line of the first poem presented below lead to a vision of literature that we can believe in, and Yuan Changming indeed startles us with a sense of clarity in this stunning series of works. "No Europe without a rope." That in itself is a novel, from beginning to middle to end. The footprints of history are tattooed intricately throughout Yuan Changming's work. Sounds create earworms that lead to other sounds that are loud, insistent and beautiful. "The Genetic Map of English Languaculture" manages to articulate, in a single letter, the colonial hegemony of English literature that many involved with ZiN Daily are trying to actively challenge and undo through multilingual and border-crossing cultural production and sharing in which no single language expresses universal dominance. 

 

Be sure to visit Poetry Pacific, a Vancouver-based magazine that Yuan co-edits, "a literary e.zine for true lovers of words and wisdom."

 


Yuan Changming, nine-time Pushcart and one-time Best of Net nominee, published monographs on translation before moving out of China. Currently, Yuan edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Yuan in Vancouver; credits include Best of Best Canadian Poetry (2008-17), BestNewPoemsOnline, London Magazine, Threepenny Review and 1309 others across 39 countries.

 

 

35 Selected English Word Idioms

 

No art without startle
No belief without a lie
No business without sin
No character without an act
No coffee without a fee
No courage without rage
No culture without a cult

 

No entrance without a trance
No Europe without a rope
No freedom without a reed
No friendship without an end
No glove without love
No ghost without a host

 

No groom without a room
No infancy without fancy
No life without if
No malady without a lady
No manifestation without man
No mason without a son

 

No millionaire without a lion
No passage without a sage
No pharmacy without harm
No plant without a plan
No prevention without an event
No product without a duct

 

No sight without a sigh
No slaughter without laughter
No splurge without urge
No spring without a ring
No substance without a stance
No think without ink
No truth without a rut

 

 

In Pursuit of Dao (or the Way)

                                                                                   

                                                                To/To

                                                Seek/Balance

                                    Yang/Yin

                        From/With

            Yin/Yang

Is/Isn’t

The same/The same

As/As

                                    To/To

                                                Seek/Balance

                                                            Yin/Yang

                                                From/With

                                    Yang/Yin

                        Before/Unless

            We/You

Zigzag/Zagzig

            Our Path/Your Way

                        With/Without

                                    A thought/Any feeling

                                                About/Towards

                                                            Nature/God

 

 

 

 

The Genetic Map of English Languaculture

 

            IIIIIIIIIIIIII

                IIIIIIII

                IIIIIIII

                IIIIIIII

                IIIIIIII

                IIIIIIII

                IIIIIIII

            IIIIIIIIIIIIIII

 

 

 

Directional Denotations

 

South:  not unlike a raindrop

            on a small lotus leaf

            unable to find the spot

            to settle itself down

            in an early autumn shower

            my little canoe drifts around

near the horizon

            beyond the bare bay

 

West:   like a giddy goat

            wandering among the ruins

            of a long lost civilization

            you keep searching

            in the central park

            a way out of the tall weeds

            as nature wraps new york

            with mummy blue

 

East:    within her beehive-like room

            so small that a yawning stretch

            would readily awaken

the whole apartment building

            she draws a picture on the wall

            of a tremendous tree

            that keeps growing

            until it shoots up

            from the cemented roof

 

North: after the storm

            all dust hung up

            in the crowded air

            with his human face

            frozen into a dot of dust

            and a rising speckle of dust

            melted into his face

            to avoid this cold climate

            of his antarctic dream

            he relocated his naked soul

            at the dawn of summer  

 

 

 

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