Guest Post by M. A. Dubbs.
As I’ve turned more to e-books and my Kindle through this COVID-19 winter, I have fallen in love with some beautiful indie poetry. 207th Bone is one of these books and showcases translated prose from China. Written by Zhou Li, a Chinese doctor and caretaker of one hundred tortoises, it explores themes of slice of life China, sensuality, depression, and the stress of practicing medicine.
The book starts with an introduction from Xi Nan who discusses the difficult translation process from Chinese to English. Next is an interview from Li as he explores his worldview of nihilism and how this has influenced his writing. The poems are untitled and separated by time periods of Li’s life. The tone shifts from bleak and visceral (“Go down the throat / Into my stomach / Don’t know which season is growing / In my body”) to political (“’China Dream’ is written / Under the billboard / A beggar is sleeping on the ground / I dare not toss a coin to him / I’m afraid the sound / would interrupt / His dream”).
207th Bone is a great read for anyone looking for modern Chinese poetry which is largely underrepresented in current literature.
207th Bone by Zhou Li. Simi Press, August 2020.
Reviewer bio: M. A. Dubbs is an award winning LBTQ Mexican-American poet from Indiana.
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