August 6, 2023
3:00 PM EST

Cost: Free

Event Description:

Discover the Role Whitman Played in the Chinese Modern Poetry Revolution
Poet, essayist, and translator Wang Jiaxin presents Whitman’s influence in China and introduces contemporary Chinese poetry. He reads his own poetry along with Chinese/English readings by Wang Yin, Jialu Mi, Jiaoyang Li, Liang Jing, Xie Jiong, and Zhang Shiran. “During the era of the May Fourth Student Movement in 1919, a group of Chinese youth were studying in Japan and there they were attracted by the poetry of Whitman, ‘the sworn poet of every dauntless rebel the world over’ as Whitman called himself.  The Chinese youths found his ideas especially congenial to the iconoclastic spirit which characterize their turbulent time.  Years will not stop the appeal of the great immortal poet.  Whitman made his debut in China when he was a hundred years old.”   – XiLao Li, “Whitman in China.”

Power Point Presentation:

This is a FREE, in-person event and will be live streamed on our YouTube channel:  @WaltWhitmanBirthplace 

Experience Whitman in China, featuring eminent Chinese Poet, Wang Jiaxin Parts 1, 2 and 3

Link to Power Point Presentation with Chinese and English translations: 

Featured Poet Bios:

Wang Jiaxin 王家新  is a poet, essayist, critic, and translator. He was born in 1957 in Hubei Province and enrolled in Wuhan University, studying Chinese literature in 1978. In 1985 he moved to Beijing and began working as an editor for the influential Poetry journal. Since 2006 he has been a Professor of Literature at Renmin University of China. Wang has published numerous books of poetry: Commemoration; Moving Cliff; Poetry by Wang Jiaxin; Unfinished Poems; Tarkovsky’s Tree; Rewriting an Old Poem; Marginalia; Memory of the Future. Collections of literary and critical essays include A Meeting of Man and the World; A Nightingale in Its Own Time; Poems Without a Hero; Finding a Perch for the Phoenix; The Snow’s Regalia; Before Your Late Face; Translations as Recognition; The Master Who Taught My Soul to Sing; The Poet and His Time. His translations include Selected Poetry and Writings of Paul Celan; With the Book from Tarussa: Translations by Wang Jiaxin; New Year’s Greetings: Poems by Marina Tsvetaeva; My Age, My Beast: Poems by Osip Mandelshtam; Died at Dawn: The Selected Poems of Federico Garcia Lorca; Deaf Republic: Poems by Ilya Kaminsky; Door in the Mountain: Collected Poems by Jean Valentine (forthcoming). Wang has also edited many poetry anthologies: 20th Century Foreign Poets on Poetry; Collected Works of W.B. Yeats (3 volumes); Poems from Modern European and American Poets (3 volumes); Chinese Poetry in the 1990s; An Introductory Guide to Modern Poetry around the World.

Wang is one of China’s most eminent contemporary poets. He is highly regarded not only for his poetry but also for his essays, criticism and translation. “Since beginning his writing career, Wang Jiaxin has exerted a far-reaching influence over contemporary Chinese poetry not just as a poet but also for his role as a critic and translator. Wang’s poetic voice stands out for the gravity, clarity, and resolve with which it explores the individual’s relation to history, destiny, cultural inheritance, and humanity. His authoritative critical and editorial work has subtly but powerfully guided the development of Chinese poetry, while his celebrated translations of Russian and Eastern European poets have, like his poems, expressed a deep-rooted identification with universal themes of existence and marginalization.” (John Crespi, “Wang Jiaxin,” in Chinese Poets Since 1949, eds. Christopher Lupke and Thomas E.Moran (Gale: A Cengage Company, 2021). He has been invited frequently to attend international literary festivals and hold readings in different countries. A collection of his poems in German, Dämmerung auf Gotland, was published in Austria in 2011 and Nachgereichte Gedichte, published in Austria in 2017; Night Train, was published in Croatia in 2017 in Croatian translation. Een asgrauwe dageraad was published in the Netherlands in 2021 in Durtch translation. His collection of poems in English, Darkening Mirror, Translated by Diana Shi and George O’Connell, with a foreword by Robert Hass, was published in the United States in 2017 and was shortlisted for the 2018 Lucien Stryk Asian Translation Prize.

Wang has received various domestic and international poetry awards. He has also been a poet-in-residence in several countries, such as Solitude Schloss Akademie in Stuttgart (1998), Villa Walberta Literature House in Munich (2001), Colgate University in New York State (2007), The International Writing Program at the University of Iowa (2013), Dutch Literary Foundation in Amsterdam as Poet-in-Residence (2022). Wang retired in 2021 and now shares his time between Beijing and New York. His poetry has been published in The American Poetry Review, The Kenyon Review, and Chinese Literature Today (Oklahoma University Press). In recent years, Wang has led poet translation workshops at the Hudson Valley Writers Center and has given talks at Wellesley College and other American universities.



Wang Yin is a poet, photographer. His photography has been exhibited both in China and internationally and he has curated the international “Poetry Comes to the Museum” reading series at the Minsheng Museum in Shanghai since 2012. Wang Yin’s 2015 collection, Limelight, won two of China’s top poetry prizes, and his poetry has been translated into French, Spanish, Japanese, and Polish, among other languages. In 2022 NYRB Poets published his A Summer Day in the Company of Ghosts. This collection was longlisted for the inaugural National Book Critics Circle Award for a translated book. He lives in New York.



Jialu Mi is an Associate Professor in the departments of English and World Languages & Cultures at The College of New Jersey where he teaches Asian American Literature, Chinese Language cinema, cyberpunk technoculture and cultural study of music and media . He is the author of Self-Fashioning and Reflexive Modernity in Modern Chinese Poetry, 1919-1949 (2004) and Chinese Ecocinema in the Age of Environmental Challenge (2009, co-edited with Sheldon Lu) and the editor of  Poetry Across Oceans: An Anthology of Chinese American Diaspora Poetry (2014); works in Chinese include The Dao and the Routes: Mirage and Transfiguration in East-West Poetics (2017) and The Dao and the Routes: Enchantment and Spectrality in East-West Poetics (2017), Deep Breaths (2018), and  Poetics of the Body (2021). His Chinese-English bilingual collection of poems Deep Breaths was published in 2019. He is completing a book project in English titled Heteroscape: Topography and Poetics of Navigation in Modern Chinese literature, Art and Film to be published by Brill. He lives in Princeton with his family.



Jiaoyang Li is a poet and interdisciplinary artist. Her book project, Gatsa 乳牙, is forthcoming from Accent Sisters in October 2023.



Liang Jing, was born in March 2002. Chinese poet, and New York based artist. currently studying at the School of Visual Arts in New York. He has published poems in Chinese literature journals such as Shi Kan, Xing Xing and Poetry Monthly. Published poetry collection Long Night (2022, Unity Press). He won the 8th Youth Literature Award and the First Prize of Anhui Province, 2021.