A Common Strangeness: Contemporary Poetry, Cross-Cultural by Jacob Edmond

By Jacob Edmond

Why is our international nonetheless understood via binary oppositions-East and West, neighborhood and worldwide, universal and strange-that should have crumbled with the Berlin Wall? What may well literary responses to the occasions that ushered in our period of globalization let us know concerning the rhetorical and ancient underpinnings of those dichotomies? In a typical Strangeness, Jacob Edmond exemplifies a brand new, multilingual and multilateral method of literary and cultural experiences. He starts with the doorway of China into multinational capitalism and the looks of the Parisian flaneur within the writings of a chinese language poet exiled in Auckland, New Zealand. relocating between poetic examples in Russian, chinese language, and English, he then lines a chain of encounters formed by way of fiscal and geopolitical occasions from the Cultural Revolution, perestroika, and the June four bloodbath to the cave in of the Soviet Union, September eleven, and the invasion of Iraq. In those encounters, Edmond tracks a shared hindrance with strangeness by which poets contested outdated binary oppositions as they reemerged in new, post-Cold warfare varieties.

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Never mind that the light is broken, you can feel your way, feel it through the soles of your feet, but you cannot speak it. ”84 The touch that provides Yang’s walker and Benjamin’s flâneur with access to the irrational depths of the city’s past is also a point of contact between the two writers and an apt figure for cross-cultural encounter and comparison. In both cases, touch involves the unsettling of rational notions of history and temporality and the negation of speech, while walking, as a tactile and communicative act, becomes a way of negotiating—or failing to negotiate—temporal and spatial displacement.

Graves from Symonds Street Cemetery located directly under Grafton Bridge, Auckland, New Zealand. Photo by Joanna Forsberg. time: “Time passes day by day,” but “nothing happens. 101 The tension between the passing of time and a pervasive sense of stasis is underscored through a play on words that is central to “Eclipse”: rizi 日子 means both “time” and “day” and contains the character for “sun,” ri 日. Because this character also appears in the title “Rishi” 日蚀 (“[Solar] Eclipse”), which is followed immediately by the line I have just quoted, the “eclipse” signifies not only the darkness resulting from the superimposition of the moon on the sun but also the erasure produced both by overloading a single sign, such as ri, with multiple meanings and by the spatial and temporal movements that the walker performs in his daily strolls through the city-text.

The possibility of connection or touch emerges instead out of the very impossibility of such reconciliation. Temporal, spatial, and textual superimposition produces a moment of erasure that further merges the textual space of the page with the temporal and spatial movements of the walker at the point at which he witnesses the beginning of the eclipse: “You plan out a poem in the graveyard, making the poem itself embody part of the graveyard. Generations of communal burial chambers. 111 To trace the words on the page through the physical act of touch is to parallel the path of the walker passing between the lines of graves in the darkness 38 Yang Lian and the Flâneur in Exile of the eclipse.

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