Translators, poets to mark 'Golden Autumn'

Shanghai Translators Association's annual "Poetry Recital in Golden Autumn" will be held from November 8 and include an exhibition and a concert by a young Chinese band. 
Ti Gong

The poem mailbox

English poet William Blake (1757-1827) described autumn as “laden with fruit, and stain’d with the blood of the grape.” The golden autumn, its harvest of food, coming of winter and beauty in various colors have long inspired poets to go wild with their imaginations.

The beauty that lies in the rhymes and rhythms of foreign poems is introduced to Chinese readers through translators at the annual “Poetry Recital in Golden Autumn,” which is held in Shanghai and hosted by Shanghai Translators Association (STA).

Now in its 26th year, the five-day event will kick off on November 8 along with an exhibition, interactive quiz and a mini concert by a young band of Chinese musicians.

The exhibition, a new addition to the event, is divided into two parts – “The Beginning” and “The Classics.” For “The Beginning,” STA has selected nearly 50 works since April from translators as young as 30 years old to the well-established. The works on display include both foreign verses translated into Chinese and vice versa.

“The Classics” will include a variety of published works, drafts and letters from a generation of Chinese translators who have introduced great world literature to Chinese readers. 

One of them is Shanghai native Fu Lei (1908-66), known for his translations of Voltaire, Balzac and Romain Rolland. Fu developed his own style of translations that encouraged translators to have more leeway while trying to transfer the literary spirit of the works. His translations sometimes were not so direct from the originals but were highly regarded and wildly circulated.

Ti Gong

The desk and chairs once used by translator and art critic Fu Lei

A mailbox will be set up at the exhibition for visitors to submit their comments and suggestions for the event or opinions about translation and poetry. The organizers will select the best with the winner presented with gifts.

At 2pm on November 9, Shanghai-based Ch-Band will perform a mini concert entitled “Encounter Between Poetry and Music” with a repertoire that includes original Chinese songs, and tunes drawn from classic poems like “To an Isle in the Water” by William Butler Yeats (1855-1939) and works from Welsh poet Dylan Thomas (1914-53).

At 2pm on November 10, there will be a workshop for translators, titled “Rose of Sharon,” named after the poetry group founded by young lecturers at Fudan University – “I am the rose of Sharon, the lily of the valley.”

Three lecturers from the university’s English, French and German departments will speak on the meaning, significance and allegorical use of rose in poems in three different languages.

The five-day event will conclude with a children’s poetry recital competition on November 12 at 1pm.

All the events will be held in Building 3 at 200 Yan’an Road W. and are free to the public. 

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