Chen Nianxi — A Portfolio of Poetry — translated from the Chinese by Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor and Kuo Zhang


Chen Nianxi, born in 1970 at Danfeng, Shannxi Province, began writing poems in 1990. In 1999, he left his hometown and labored as a miner for 16 years across China. In 2015, he couldn’t continue as a miner due to occupational disease. In 2016, he was awarded the Laureate Worker Poet Prize.  His poetry and life were featured in a 2018 documentary entitled Demolition Work about migrant worker poets in China.  Chen’s poetry book, Records of Explosion (Taibai Wenyi Press) provides lyrical documentation of the hidden costs behind China’s financial boom.  Chen’s poems have appeared in Poetry Periodical, Qinghai Lake, Chinese Poetry, Shandong Literature, and Wutai Mountain.

Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor, Professor of Language and Literacy Education at the University of Georgia, is the author of Imperfect Tense (poems), and four scholarly books in education. Winner of NEA Big Read Grants, the Beckman award for Professors Who Inspire, and a Fulbright for nine-month study of adult Spanish language acquisition in Oaxaca Mexico, she’s served for over ten years as poetry editor for Anthropology & Humanism, judging the ethnographic poetry competition. Her poems and essays have appeared in Georgia Review, American Poetry Review, Women’s Quarterly Review, Cream City Review, Barrow Street, and many other literary and scholarly homes.

Kuo Zhang is a faculty member in Teacher Education at the University of Vermont and completes a PhD in TESOL & World Language Education at the University of Georgia. She has a bilingual book of poetry in Chinese and English, Broadleaves (Shenyang Press). Her poem, “One Child Policy” was awarded second place in the 2012 Society for Humanistic Anthropology (SHA) Poetry Competition held by the American Anthropological Association. Her poems have appeared in The Roadrunner Review, Lily Poetry Review, Bone Bouquet, K’in, DoveTales, North Dakota Quarterly, Literary Mama, Mom Egg Review, Adanna Literary Journal, Raising Mothers, MUTHA Magazine, Journal of Language and Literacy Education, and Anthropology and Humanism.