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The best of contemporary Chinese poetry and prose in English Translation


Fissures: Chinese Writing Today is an anthology of contemporary Chinese poetry, prose and essays taken from the literary journal Jintian (Today). Jintian has been the foremost voice of contemporary Chinese writing since its inception on “The Democracy Wall” in Beijing in 1978, and its subsequent reinvention in 1989. This is the third volume in the series and the first undertaken by a U.S. publisher. Authors include Bei Dao, Gao Ertai, Hong Ying, Duoduo, Yang Lian, Sun Xiaodong and Zhu Wen—names that will only continue to grow in importance as Chinese literature expands the established Western canon.


From Breyten Breytenbach's preface: 


The un-initiated non-Chinese reader must be especially careful not to look at Chinese literature through the glasses of his or her own conditioned expectations. We have all been bamboozled by the clichés of exoticism and romanticism, reassured by the security of ‘distance’ and charmed by the lures of ‘difference’ […] Alternatively—and sometimes simultaneously—we were told that we'll never understand: China is the last Unknown; and since it is so old and so rich and so big and so threatening, it is probably the Unknown Universe. There would seem to be a need for us non-Chinese to have a China of the mind.

It is by no means the slightest merit of this collection to be thus wiping clean our glasses in order to give us a feel of the ‘ordinariness’ of modern existence. It constitutes a horizontal slice of the many expressions of literary creativeness in present-day China.

Fissures: Chinese Writing Today

  • Fissures: Chinese Writing Today

    Edited by Henry YH Zhao, Yanbing Chen, and John Rosenwald
    ISBN 0-939010-59-3 (paper), $14.95
    Buy Now From CCNow
    5½ x 8½
    292 pages

  • This anthology is a window into the minds and lives of some of the world's finest young writers.
    —Gary Snyder


    The stories, essays and poems gathered here show a restlessness with the past and also a homage to it
    —Jonathan Spence

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