This article reflects on the translation of wordplay in the poetry of Hong Kong author Xi Xi. Xi Xi is a highly imaginative poet: much of her poetry hinges upon specificities of the Chinese language, and one might well ask if this makes her work “untranslatable.” This article identifies various techniques for translating Xi Xi’s wordplay, detailing how I mine the potential of English for ways to recreate Xi Xi’s puns, puzzles, and playful subversion of language in a new linguistic and cultural environment. It encourages readers and translators to become unshackled from rules, assumptions, and conventions as they reflect on the malleability and potential of poetry and of language itself.
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Feeley, J. (2017). Can We Say an Ear of Cabbage: On Translating Wordplay in Xi Xi’s Poetry. Journal of Modern Literature in Chinese, 14(2)-15(1), 45-72.