Translation involves the art of knowing when to get out of the way—and of knowing when to get in the way. Chinese migrant worker poetry brings this issue to the fore with unusual urgency, as its language often breaks the rules for being “poetic” or “elegant.” But what is being conveyed by the language these poets employ, and what is lost if the translator yields to the temptation to smooth out the rough edges? And how does the act of translating and anthologizing these poets affect the ways in which they are read?



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