Karma is Chinese contemporary poet Yin Lichuan’s collection of poems (bilingual edition) in Fiona Sze-Lorrain’s translation, accompanied by Sze-Lorrain’s introduction.
Spanning over a decade, these are poems of deep irreverence and relentless questioning. With an air of unrestrained freedom in both form and content, Yin Lichuan establishes an immediate intimacy with her reader. She prods at expectations and disdains concealment, as a youth looking at old age, in the earliest poems, and later as a mother. Throughout, she maintains her restless distrust of convention. In these English translations, poet and musician Sze-Lorrain presents an arresting chronological sequence of Yin’s fresh and fearless revelations. — Carolyn Kuebler, editor of New England Review
Yin Lichuan’s poems—in these potent translations by Fiona Sze-Lorrain—pierce the traditional lyric, injecting it with the antipoetic, the provocative, the unexpected, as when she asserts that “the most insane people master the art of gardening / enjoy making sweet-and-sour fish / they are chefs and housewives.” Her choice of detail startles and illuminates, a “pink plastic sandal buried in soil,” a county truck “loaded with black petroleum.” She is our guide, our accomplice, advising us to “go to the zoo in dry winter / to visit a weasel / and tiger / under thin ashen white sunlight” and we can’t do otherwise—such is the stark power of her gaze. — Jennifer Barber, founding editor of Salamander