For Vladimir Mayakovsky by Jidi Majia
Omerta Publications, 2017, 32 pages, $18.50
For Vladimir Mayakovsky by Jidi Majia is a 450-line poem written in Chinese and presented side-by-side with an English translation by Denis Mair.
In his Introduction to the Poem, San Francisco poet and translator Jack Hirschman writes:
For Vladimir Mayakovsky is as complete and sophisticatedly subtle a portrait of a poet written in verse as has ever been composed—considering the very tragic fact that at this very moment the complete works of Vladimir Mayakovsky still have not been published in the United States, though in other countries, like France and Italy, they come to nine volumes!
Jidi Majia knows and names the many comrades who stand beside the poet in that realm of camaraderie that only poetry can authentically affirm: Neruda, Vallejo, Hikmet, Jozsef, Ritsos, Pasolini. And when Jidi brings Mayakovsky’s lines and Being into the 21st century, the Chinese poet exclaims:
A great Chinese poet has penned a truly majestic portrait in poetry of one of the great voices of modernity in any epoch, with deep humility and devotion to the meaning of the art of truth as it reflects the beauty of humanity’s soul.
About Jidi Majia, Hirschman writes:
The author of For Vladimir Mayakovsky, Jidi Majia, is something of an anomaly, this extraordinary poet who is perhaps the most international of Chinese cultural figures. On the one hand, he holds a high position in the Chinese Writers Association; directs cultural activities on Chinese television; has built a compound for cultural activities and is paradoxically the major poet of the Yi tribe, one of 56 minorities in China little known to the outside world. The Yi people number 8 million and its most populous branch is called the Nuosu.
Translator Denis Mair holds an M.A. in Chinese from Ohio State University and has taught at University of Pennsylvania. He is currently a research fellow at Hanching Academy, Sun Moon Lake, Taiwan. He translated autobi- ographies by the philosopher Feng Youlan (Hawaii University Press) and the Buddhist monk Shih Chen-hua (SUNY Press). His translation of art criticism by Zhu Zhu was published by Hunan Fine Arts Press (2009). He has translated poetry by Yan Li, Mai Cheng, Meng Lang, Luo Ying, Jidi Majia, Yang Ke, and others. He also translated essays by design critic Tang Keyang and art historian Lü Peng for exhibitions they curated respectively in 2009 and 2011 at the Venice Biennial. (See Lü Peng, From San Servolo to Amalfi, Charta Books, Milan, 2011).