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So Translating Rivers and Cities is a bilingual selection of work from Zhang Er's three most recent Chinese manuscripts. As with her previous Zephyr book, Verses on Bird, an intriguing aspect of this project is the list of translators involved in the project—among them Bob Holman, Timothy Liu, Susan Schultz and Leonard Schwartz—all well-known poets and critics. Their participation is necessary in capturing the multiple layers of Er's work throughout her varied poetic sequences.


Zhang Er was born in Beijing, China and moved to New York City in 1986. Her writings of poetry, non-fiction, and essays have appeared in publications in Taiwan, China, the American émigré community and in a number of American journals. She is the author of multiple books in Chinese and in English translation. She has read from her work at international festivals, conferences, reading series and universities in China, France, Portugal, Russia, Peru, Singapore, Hong Kong as well as in the U.S. She currently teaches at The Evergreen State College in Washington.


Bob Holman's eighth book, A Couple of Ways of Doing Something, a collaboration with Chuck Close, was published in 2003. He was a founder of Mouth Almighty/Mercury Records, the first major label devoted to poetry. He is Chief Curator of the People's Poetry Gathering, Poetry Guide at, and Proprietor of the Bowery Poetry Club ( He was recently appointed Visiting Professor of Writing at Columbia University, and received the 2003 Barnes & Noble “Writers for Writers” Award.


Arpine Konyalian Grenier, author of St. Gregory's Daughter and Whores of Samarkand, is a graduate of the American University of Beirut and the MFA Program at Bard College, New York. Her work has appeared in Columbia Poetry Review, The Iowa Review, Phoebe, and Kiosk.


Timothy Liu's first book of poems, Vox Angelica (Alice James Books, 1992), received the Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America. His subsequent books of poems are Burnt Offerings (Copper Canyon Press, 1995), Say Goodnight (Copper Canyon Press, 1998), and Hard Evidence (Talisman House, 2001). Tenured at William Paterson University, Liu lives in Manhattan.


Bill Ransom has published six novels and six collections of poems, including Finding True North from Copper Canyon Press, which was nominated for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. His novel Jaguar was recently re-released by Wildside Press. He is a member of the faculty at The Evergreen State College.


Susan M. Schultz is the author of multiple poetry and essay collections, most recently And Then Something Happened (Salt, 2004) and A Poetics of Impasse in Modern and Contemporary American Poetry (Alabama, 2005). She edited The Tribe of John: Ashbery and Contemporary Poetry (Alabama, 1995). She founded Tinfish Press, which publishes a journal and chapbooks featuring experimental work from the Pacific. Schultz is Professor of English at the University f Hawai`i-Manoa.


Leonard Schwartz is the author of several collections of poetry, most recently Ear and Ethos and The Tower of Diverse Shores (Talisman House). He is also the author of a collection of essays A Flicker At The Edge Of Things: Essays on Poetics 1987-1997 (Spuyten Duyvil) and co-editor of two anthologies of contemporary American poetry: Primary Trouble: An Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry and An Anthology of New (American) Poets (both from Talisman House). He teaches at The Evergreen State College in Washington.

So Translating Rivers and Cities, by Zhang Er

  • So Translating Rivers and Cities
    Zhang Er
    from Chinese by Bob Holman, Arpine Konyalian Grenier, Timothy Liu, Bill Ransom, Susan Schultz and Leonard Schwartz
    ISBN 0-939010-93-3 (paper) 
    6 1/8 x 8
    152 pages [bilingual Chinese/English]

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