ZHENG Xiaoqiong (PRC) was born in Nanchong, Sichuan. She went south to Guangdong for work in the year 2001. To date, she has published twelve books, including Notes of a Woman Worker, Rose Manor, Huang Maling, Poetry Collection by Zheng Xiaoqiong, Pure-Species Plant and Footbridge. Notes of a Woman Worker was hailed as “the first symphony-poem about the female gender, work and capitalism in the history of Chinese poetry”. Her works have been translated into various languages, such as Bahasa Indonesia, English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Turkish and Vietnamese. Her numerous accolades include Chuang Chong Wen Literature Awards, October Literature Awards and People’s Literature Awards. She was invited to recite poems in various cities in France at the 20th Le Printemps des Poetes, and to hold solo poetry recitals in Vienna and Graz upon the invitation of the University of Vienna and University of Applied Arts Vienna. Her poems have been adapted into songs and stage plays and performed in Germany and the United States.
These sounds I hear, stiff, vertical,
like an enormous iron hammer on an anvil, clank, clank
these low sobs, sorrowful, bloated, oppressive
we walk, run
slowly, our captive fate!
The sounds I hear when I turn around are like pieces of cut iron
circular, square, in strips… iron I cannot speak of
it is silent as we sob, life’s iron hammer pounds
in the flames of the furnace or the light of daytime
I see myself looking like this cast iron
one little spot, another little spot, burnished, cut out, slowly
becoming a component without language, a tool, an apparatus
turning into this voiceless, this silent, this mute life!
(Translated by Eleanor Goodman)