Summer 2023 • Vol. XLV No. 1 Poetry |

Ice Anglers

In the reservoir near my house, when winter comes, you can see some ice anglers, each one squatting in an old army overcoat. From a distance, they look like crows scattered in the snow. They crouch there as if time has stopped. They go there just so fish can breathe, under a single ray of light —  the fish swim hesitantly up to the holes. The ice anglers’ ecstasy is to see living creatures thrash their tails in pain on ice, until blood seeps from their gills, staining red the piles of chiseled ice . . . These are the most frightening sights I can imagine —  I turned away from that embankment; I tried to think it was just a chance encounter in my stroll.

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Wang Jiaxin is one of the leading poets of China. He is the author of seven books of poetry, and ten books of critical essays, and is the leading translator of Paul Celan into Chinese. He recently received the first Ai Qing Poetry Award (2022). His book of poetry in English translation is Darkening Mirror: New and Selected Poems, translated by Diana Shi and George O’Connell, with a foreword by Robert Hass (Tebot Bach, 2016).

Arthur Sze’s latest book is The Glass Constellation: New and Collected Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 2021). He is the recipient of a 2022 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize for Lifetime Achievement from the Poetry Foundation and also of the 2021 Shelley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America. His expanded edition of translations of Chinese poetry, The Silk Dragon II, is forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press in the spring of 2024.

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