Monday, October 18, 2010

TJ Dema's Poetry Translated into Chinese

An Anthology of African poetry in English, French, Portuguese Amharic and Arabic
translated into Chinese
edited by Kaiyu Xiao, Isabel Ferrin-Aguirre and Phillippa Yaa de Villiers
244 pages
Publisher: World Knowledge Publishers, Shanghai
October 2010
ISBN 978-7-5012-3895-8

Six months, about 1000 e-mails, one facebook chat and here it is: No
Serenity Here, a contemporary anthology of African poetry to be
launched during the Shanghai Biennale in October 2010. Original poems
in English, French, Portuguese, Arabic and Amharic will be published
alongside their Chinese translations. The volume includes Nobel
Laureate Wole Soyinka, along with voices from 25 African countries,
and was translated by a team of Chinese poets under the guidance of
Kaiyu Xiao.

Edited by Xiao in China, Isabel Ferrin-Aguirre in Berlin and Phillippa
Yaa de Villiers in Johannesburg, No Serenity Here celebrates
established writers such as Ama Ata Aidoo (Ghana), Makhosazana Xaba
and Lebo Mashile (South Africa), Veronique Tadjo (Cote d’Ivoire) and
Fatima Naoot (Morocco), and introduce lesser known yet brilliant
voices like TJ Dema (Botswana), Shailja Patel (Kenya) and Tania Tome
(Mocambique), as well as Amanda Hammar and Joyce Chigiya (both from

Besides the veterans like Soyinka (Nigeria), Kofi Anyodoho (Ghana),
Chirikure Chirikure (Zimbabwe), James Matthews (South Africa) and
Keorapetse Kgositsile (South Africa’s Poet Laureate, whose poem lent
the title to the anthology), the volume also showcases the prodigious
talents of Shabbir Bhanoobhai (South Africa), Nii Ayikwei Parkes
(Ghana), Tolu Ogunlesi and Obododimma Oha (Nigeria), Stanley Onjezani
Kenani (Malawi) and Beaven Tapureta (Zimbabwe), Keamogetsi Molapong
and Dorian Haarhoff (Namibia), Hama Tuma and Alemu Tebeje Ayele (both
from Ethiopia).

“We read widely, but it was the contact with contemporary poets that
brought the project to life and delivered its unique vibrancy and
varied voice,” says Ferrin-Aguirre, who also worked until recently as
a programmer for the Berlin Poesiefestival and researcher for the
Literatuurwerkstatt, a global database of poets which collects
recordings of poets reciting their work in their original languages in
its Lyrikline project.

Acclaimed Chinese poet and academic Kaiyu Xiao admits in his foreword:
“the poems … would make me physically quiver as the poems shattered my
expectations.” Many of the poets are appearing in print for the first
time, and most of them for the first time in Chinese.

“African writers have made an important contribution to the world
reservoir of thought on the human condition; this is just a small part
of the literary wealth that we have to offer. China has given us so
much, and I’m proud that we are reciprocating,” said writer and
performer de Villiers.

Published by World Knowledge Publishers and commissioned by artist and
philanthropist Mr Hu, the tri-continental project also received
support from the Jiang Nan Art and Design Foundation and the Moonchu