The China Cabinet and Other Poems Book Launch

Christopher Nailer’s bilingual collection, translated into Chinese by Alice Ayres, He Wenhui, Connie Pan and Annie Ren, published by Ginninderra Press.

The book will be launched by Jacqui Malins, performance poet and facilitator of Mother Tongue Multilingual Poetry in Canberra.

Christopher, and translators He Wenhui and Annie Ren will discuss the joys and perils of translating poetry between English and Chinese.

The China Cabinet and other poems reflects on 55 years of working on, with, and in Chinese. The pieces range in mood from quiet personal lyrics to stark collisions between studies of the past and things found in the present, to history and political comment. Like the intimate objects in a china cabinet, the poems take us from oil-paper parasols, to a Chinese market garden in Melbourne, to a university building nicknamed ‘Tiananmen’, to a student hostel in Tokyo, to the silver screen of Singapore’s rainy season, to encounters in Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and Taipei. The book time-stamps where we are in our mutual understanding.

Christopher Nailer is a Canberra-based poet. He started studying Chinese with Stephen Lee at Camberwell Grammar School in 1964 and continued at the University of Melbourne. He wrote a Masters thesis on Qu Yuan in 1980. This is his fourth collection of poetry; it follows Blundstones and a Brown Dog (Ginninderra Press 2006), Peel Street (Ginninderra Press 2010) and Travels with a Grand Piano (Cyder Press 2019).

He Wenhui was born in China and came to Australia when she was seventeen. She studied Fine Arts in Sydney and is currently studying for a Master of Interpreting and Translation Studies at Monash University in Melbourne.

Annie Ren is a translator and a PhD scholar at The Australia National University. She is the Chinese translator of Brian Castro and John Young’s trilingual book Macau Days published by Arts + Australia.

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Mon Dec 16
5:30 pm – 6:30 pm

Smith's Alternative

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