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Opinion: She crosses big China to accost you

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She attained fame overnight, almost rudely. But then she is no ordinary poet, for she has been serving the three muses of poetry, Calliope, Euterpe and Erato, for 16 years.

她一夜成名,以近乎疯狂的方式席卷各大媒体。而她并不仅仅是一位普通的诗人,她创作诗歌已有十六年之久。(注:文中缪斯女神卡利俄佩,欧忒尔佩和厄剌托出自希腊神话,分别掌管史诗,音乐和爱情诗)

Yu Xiuhua is a farmer and all of 39 years old. She lives in Zhongxiang of Central China`s Hubei province, and has been called by the media as the "poetess with cerebralpalsy (a condition characterized by movement problems)". Yu broke through social media WeChat recently after Poetry magazine twitted her poem, Crossing Big China to Sleep With you.

余秀华是一位三十九岁的农民,住在湖北省钟祥市,被媒体称为“脑瘫(主要症状为行动困难)的女诗人”。在《诗刊》微信公众号推送了她的诗《穿越大半个中国去睡你》之后,余秀华在微信圈一夜成名。

Many media outlets have talked about her and her poems but their approach has been somewhat complicated. They have indeed praised her poems saying they carry real feelings and the power to move hearts. But, unwittingly or otherwise, their focus seems to be on her physical and social conditions, with one media outlet describing her as "a countrywoman who composes poems".

诸多媒体对她和她的诗都议论纷纷,但他们报道的角度却多少有些复杂。他们称赞她的诗确有真情、直击人心;但有意无意间,他们的注意力似乎都集中在她的身体状况和社会境遇上,比如,就有媒体称她为“写诗的村妇”。


The woman described by some media outlets as "China`s Emily Dickinson", the famous American poet, dropped out of senior high school, has lived the life of a farmer since and does suffer from cerebralpalsy.

也有媒体将她比作“中国的艾米莉•迪金森”(著名的美国女诗人)。余秀华在高中时辍学,此后一直过着农民的生活,并遭受脑瘫之苦。

But none of her physical traits, or the lack of them, have anything to do with her ability to compose poems. In the world of poetry, the only things that matter are words, and the feelings and meanings they carry. And her poem, Crossing Big China to Sleep With You, conveys that feeling, full as it is with passion: "Across China, all is happening: volcanoes are erupting, rivers are running dry…I pressed nights into a dawn to sleep with you, I gathered all I am to sleep with you".

但她的身体状况,或者说身体缺陷与她作诗的才能并无关联。在诗歌的世界中,唯一重要的就是文字,以及它所表达的情感和意义。而她的诗《穿越大半个中国去睡
你》,确确实实饱含激情:“火山在喷,河流在枯……我是把无数的黑夜摁进一个黎明去睡你,我是无数个我奔跑成一个我去睡你。”


That she became famous overnight mainly because of media hype, rather than on the basis of her works, is a reflection of the times we live in. By using offensive epithets such as "poetess with cerebralpalsy" or "countrywoman who composes poems", media outlets have succeeded in catching the eyes of readers and viewers.

她的一夜成名主要源自媒体炒作,而非作品本身,而这正是我们所处时代的一个缩影。为了吸引观众、读者们的眼球,媒体不惜使用一些无礼的绰号,比如称她为 “脑瘫女诗人”或是“写诗的农村妇女”。


Yet the irony is, without the media offensive, Yu Xiuhua the poet and her works would have remained unknown to ordinary readers. Media reports contrasting Yu`s physical disability with her creative mind have moved, even inspired, many people.

讽刺地是,如果没有媒体的大肆报道,普通读者也许根本不会知道余秀华和她的作品。媒体报道中她的身体缺陷与才华所呈现出来的强烈反差,却也因此感动了很多人,甚至激励了很多人。

True, John Milton overcame his blindness at 43 to be acclaimed as a great English poet and W.B. Yeats, despite his undiagnosed learning disorder, reached the wuthering heights of poetry. But they were different people living in different times. Today, a poet needs more than the medium of poetry to be heard by readers, which speaks volumes about the state of the arts, poetry included, in contemporary society.

诚然,约翰•弥尔顿在四十三岁时克服失明之痛并被誉为英国的伟大诗人,叶芝深受病因不明的阅读障碍症之苦,但还是攀上了诗歌的巅峰,但是他们生活在不同的
时代,有着不同的个人情况。当今时代,诗人不能单凭诗歌来吸引读者,而这种局面充分反映了当代包括诗歌在内的艺术的生存状态。

The 1980s are regarded as the golden age of modern poetry in China, when many poets enchanted readers with their excellent creations. But the fact Yu`s works have touched many people`s hearts today is proof of her poetic power. As literature professor and poet Zang Di has said in an interview, she uses her language as her body. Perhaps the sincerity and purity of thought expressed in Yu`s poems, which today`s society seems devoid of, have drawn readers to her poems.

上个世纪80年代被认为是中国现代诗歌的黄金时代,许多诗人的优秀作品使读者们如痴如醉。余秀华的诗歌打动了无数人,这就是她诗歌中力量的最好证明。正如
北京大学中文系教授、诗人臧棣在采访中所说,她把语言直接当成了身体。或许,正是余秀华诗歌中真诚而纯粹的思想表达为她赢得了读者,而这种真诚和纯粹正是
当今社会所缺乏的。

The last word, in this regard, rests with John Keats, "Beauty is truth, truth beauty," – that is all: Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know. If the combination of truth and beauty which Yu seems to represent rekindles people`s passion for poetry, media hype or not, so be it.

最后,让我们以约翰•济慈的诗做结:“美即是真,真即是美”,那就是你们所知,和你们该知的一切。如果余秀华的诗歌中所代表的真与美的结合可以唤醒人们对于诗歌的热情,那么这到底是不是媒体炒作,又有什么关系呢!

2016-06-23

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