Night Rain in Mian Yang City by Zhao Ye – translated by Kwame Dawes

Mian Yang. Night rain. The 1980s.
Homesickness and heaviness encroach.

The heavens could be angry, the people may grieve,
the past may be a home of meandering paths.

Now, you and I are rafting on a lake of wine,
our youth, a blur on the banks.

Ah, our tyrannical state, look how it has betrayed
our splendid youth in this new epoch.

Zhao Ye (1964-) was originally from Sichuan and holds a BA in English from the Sichuan University. Along with his fellow poets, he co-launched the “Third Generation” poetry movement in 1982 and edited the Third Generation magazine. He has published several books of poetry, been translated into a few languages, including a German edition Zurück in die Gärten (Edition Thanhauser, Austria, 2012). He was awarded the Poet of the Year in 2012 by the Heavenly Question Festival of China and the Red Cliff Poetry Prize in 2019. He lives between Beijing and Dali.

Kwame Dawes is the author of twenty-two books of poetry and numerous other books of fiction, criticism, and essays. His collection, Nebraska, was published in 2020. He is Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner and George C. Holmes Professor of English at the University of Nebraska.  He is Director of the African Poetry Book Fund and Artistic Director of the Calabash International Literary Festival. Dawes is a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. His awards include an Emmy, the Forward Poetry Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship and the prestigious Windham Campbell Prize for Poetry. In 2021, Kwame Dawes was named editor of American Life in Poetry.