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Abstract

What can translation teach us about poetry and poetics? To what extent is a lyric constellation portable, and to what extent is it embedded in a particular culture or language? How much of a foreign syntax can be replicated before things break down? What is the role of sound in a translation? By discussing poems by three poets whose work I have translated—the Taiwanese poet Yang Mu and the mainland-Chinese poets Zhai Yongming and Wang Yin—this paper explores issues such as the above. It connects these issues with the question of “where you end and I begin” and vice versa, which takes on added significance if the translator writes poetry of their own.

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