Zhang Zhihao – Song of the Pumpkin – translated by Yuemin He

One pumpkin divided into three portions
Two given away as gifts
The last
cooked for three meals–
stir-fried (added pepper)
steamed (added rock sugar)
the rest fried into pumpkin cakes
I didn’t really like to eat pumpkin cakes
nor had I ever made any 
but this pumpkin
originated from my family three hundred kilometers away
Such a long vine
yielded only one such pumpkin   

Zhang Zhihao [张执浩] is one of the most accomplished poets in contemporary China. He was born in 1964, the author of ten poetry collections–Burdened by Praise, Heart of an Animal, Jostling for Bonding, Welcome to Yanzi River, and Wild Flowers on the Plateau, to list a few, as well as several books of fiction and essay collections. He has won almost all the prestigious poetry awards in China, including the People’s Literature Prize (2004), the annual October Prize for poetry (2011), the Chinese Literature Media Award for poetry (2014), the First Chinese Qu Yuan Poetry Award (2014), the annual Chen Zi’Ang Poetry Award (2016), the Luxun Literary Prize for poetry (2018) and the October Literature Award (2019).  Currently, he is editor-in-chief of Chinese Poetry, a quarterly poetry magazine in Wuhan, China. 

Yuemin He has published many articles on composition pedagogy, Buddhist American literature, East Asian literature and visual art. Her poetry translations appear in anthologies and magazines, including Oxford Anthology of Modern and Contemporary American Poetry (2nd ed.) Metamorphoses, Ezra, The Northern Virginia Review, The Cincinnati Review, 91st Meridian, Exchanges, Rattle, Religions and Arts, Renditions, Chinese Literature in Translation, Moon City Review, and The Tiger Moth Review. She is currently an English professor at Northern Virginia Community College.