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Recap: Visions Book Launch with Ben Wang, 9.25.21

Recap: Visions Book Launch with Ben Wang, 9.25.21

On September 25, China Institute celebrated the publication of Visions: East and West 松風山月, Translations of Selected Tang Poems, a new book created by a group of students studying Tang Dynasty (618–907) poetry with Ben Wang, Senior Lecturer and Co-Chair of the Renwen Society at China Institute. A true labor of love, the book presents translated Tang poems in English, allowing these beautiful poems to reach more people, an achievement representing China Institute’s mission to educate people about China through arts, culture, education, and business.


Full Video of Visions: East and West:


Program Quotes and Speeches:

“I am so proud of each of you, the translators of this book. It is even more important now…a deeper understanding happens though language, culture, and art. It doesn’t happen through the talks of politicians. Thank each one of you being an ambassador of your own way.” -James B. Heimowitz, President of China Institute

“In all my 57 years in this country, I have read so many books of translation of classical Chinese poetry, from Chinese to English, and none is like your book, which is one poem being translated by 3, 5 or 8 marvelous translators.” -Ben Wang, Senior Lecturer

“I never would have dreamed in 1969 that I would get to the point where I could reasonably translate a Tang poem, learn some Etymology, and have some of my translations included in this striking book. To have the opportunity to contribute to Visions, for me, is the culmination of a slow and unexpected journey of over 50 years from basic Chinese to translating classical Chinese poetry.” -Carmen De Lemos-Chiarandini, student [read the full remarks]

“… studying with Ben has infused not only my thinking but my painting practice. The process of translating has loosened up the way my mind works with words across two languages and the continual visual fallout…a weather of images. It has become an ongoing series of epiphanies which have lit up the inside of my head, making it a more beautiful place to struggle in, to live in and occasionally to relax in.” -Mia Wolff, student [read the full remarks]

“It helps to have a knowledge of China’s history, literature and culture, as well as a knowledge of the poets’ lives and times. Wang Laoshi as we call him, told us that anything one can excavate between the lines, beneath the lines, between characters, even within a character, are all fair game. He taught us the tonal scheme of each poem, so we can appreciate its music. He introduced us to its calligraphic rendering, so we can appreciate its beauty as a work of visual art.” -Elyisa Tan, student [read the full remarks]

“Goodness, this is a Book Launch that even New York City has not witnessed before — it is on a par with The New Yorker, Scribners, Skirball! Thank you again.” -Marilyn Wong Gleysteen, past-student

Download your PDF or .EPUB copy of Visions: East and West.

Technical Note: The .EPUB and .PDF eBook files for Visions: East and West included in the drive linked above contain the same content. Both include clickable links to assist in navigation. Apple devices may download either version. All other devices should only download the .PDF version. China Institute regrets that they are unable provide any technical assistance for these eBooks.

Learn more from Ben Wang in his Fall 2021 course Returning Home and Wine-Drinking Song (5): 歸去來辭 & 飮酒詩 (5): Enlightened Journey of Tao Yuanming

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