Taiwanese Poetry Reading takes place at the Trinity Centre For Literary And Cultural Translation

A Taiwanese poetry reading and translation session lead by Taiwanese poet Wen-Chi Li and Scottish poet Colin Bramwell took place in Trinity on November 14th 2018. The session, titled “Sovereign Rays of Light Translate: Taiwan in Poetry, Poetry in Taiwan” aimed to introduce Irish readers to the work of famous Taiwanese poet Yang Mu. The event was jointly organised by the Taipei Representative Office in Ireland and Trinity Centre For Literary And Cultural Translation. It was hosted by Dr. Elizabeth Lin, a Taiwanese Scholar.

Wen-chi Li and Colin Bramwell are accomplished poets. They were awarded the “First Prize Award” in the John Dryden Translation Competition at the Translation of the British Association of Comparative Literature this year. Their work is focused on the poems of award-winning Yang Mu. There is great importance in translating Yang Mu’s works so that it can also be enjoyed by English speakers. Previously, Irish poetry from the likes of Yeats and Heaney has been translated into Mandarin and has been very popular in Taiwan. Translating poetry allows the beauty of the work to transcend typical language barriers so that multiple audiences can enjoy the imagery, rhyme and rhythm of these poetic creations.

Furthermore, this talk, a combination of literary history and poetry reading in English and their original language, aims to introduce Western readers to three more poets: Chen Li, Hsia Yu, and Ching Hsiang Hai. By contextualising this work within their broad ideological spectra—modernism, postmodernism, feminism and the LGBT movement, it will chart a course through the unique, familiar history of Taiwan.

The Cultural Division of the Taipei Representative Office in UK had previously organised an event in collaboration with the SOAS, University of London. This event had attracted many participants, who all enjoy the introduction of Taiwan’s contemporary literature and modern poetry.

Wen-chi Li is currently pursuing a PhD in Sinology at the University of Zurich, having completed a MA in Comparative and General Literature and MSc Research in Chinese at the University of Edinburgh. Li’s publications include critical essays in journals in Hong Kong and Taiwan as well as three books for poetry in Chinese.

Colin Bramwell is a Scottish poet, translator, theatre maker and musician from the Black Isle, near Inverness. He studied English Literature at the universities of Edinburgh, McGill and Oxford. Working with Wen-chi Li, he co-translates Taiwan’s most important living power, Yang Mu. He contributed translations to a recently published Collected Works of Yang Mu.

The Taipei Representative Office in Ireland was delighted to be involved with the very successful night of Taiwanese poetry, particularly in a venue that is highly connected with Irish poetry throughout the ages.