As the author of some 75 (!) books of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, translation and criticism (the number continues to grow), Ouyang Yu’s literary influence is undisputed.
I interviewed Ouyang Yu back in 2007, after he published his book On the Smell of an Oily Rag. During that time, he told me that the wasn’t in the habit of putting himself into pigeon holes: "I might as well call myself a poetnovelisttranslatoressayistcritic". I think that label, if one were required (of course it isn’t), could be applied to his new book Fainting with Freedom. Many of the poems read like little stories or narratives, full of (often subversive) fun, dismay, intensity, longing, and Ouyang Yu’s characteristic word play that always breaks linguistic boundaries.
Here’s a very brief sample:
Hills flow in wavelets, brown-green, yellow-red, pink-dark. Empty sticks of trees, through which glimpses of clouds topping the hills. One lone tree, another, another, a shadow stretching across the tableland, darkening the feeding sheep. Dots of grey. Sudden water sky. (“Biography”)Full review, as always, to follow.