about

Eleanor Goodman is a writer and a translator from Chinese. Her work appears in publications such as PN Review, The Quarterly Conversation, 天南, Fiction, Pathlight, Cha, The Guardian, Pleiades, Acumen, Perihelion, The Los Angeles Review, and on The Best American Poetry website. She is a summa cum laude graduate of Amherst College and has a Masters in Creative Writing from Boston University.

Her honors include a 2012 DJS translation award, two Ann Kao Foundation Translation Fellowships, the International Merit Award in Poetry from the Atlanta Review, induction into Phi Beta Kappa, and residencies at the American Academy in Rome and the Vermont Studio Center. She has lectured at Yale, Northeastern, Beijing University, and Zhongyang Minzu University.

She is currently a Research Associate at the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University. Her book of translations, The Selected Poems of Wang Xiaoni, will be published by Zephyr Press this year. In 2013-14, she will spend a year in Beijing on a Fulbright Fellowship.

Selected translations and poems are here.       中国版

Email Eleanor (顾爱玲) at eleanor@eleanorgoodman.com.

poetry

Eleanor's poetry has been published widely in the U.S. and abroad in journals and magazines including Cha, Charles River Journal, The Best American Poetry website, New Delta Review, Eden Waters Press, The Pedestal Magazine, Ibbetson Street Press, and Terrain.org.

Her collaboration with the composer Steve Potter, "Piety (IV)" won the composition prize from the Wellcome Foundation. Her teachers include Robert Pinsky, Derek Walcott, Rosanna Warren, and Geoffrey Hill. Her first poetry collection Habitation is under consideration at several presses.

Selected Poems Online

three poems (2012) in Terrain.org
Sanctum (2011) in Cha (nominated for a Pushcart Prize)
Ohio (2007) in The Pedestal Magazine

prose

Eleanor Goodman writes both fiction and nonfiction. Her short story, "Getting to No" appeared in Fiction (2009).

As a critic, she has published reviews in Cerise Press and written a series of essays for The Best American Poetry website on topics ranging from the role of the translator to a meditation on the Cimetière du Père-Lachaise. She also writes book reviews for The Quarterly Conversation.

She was a Visiting Writer at the American Academy in Rome in January 2012, and held a month-long residency at the Vermont Studio Center in December of 2012. She has taught writing at Grub Street and Boston University, and has served as manuscript consultant for books published by major university presses.

Her work is represented by Inkwell Management, NYC.

translation

Fluent in Mandarin, Eleanor has been commissioned to translate both poetry and prose. She has published translations of contemporary Chinese poetry by a wide range of poets including Li Li, Yu Xiang, Chen Dongdong, Yan Jun, and many others. Her collection of translations of fifteen contemporary poets, The Lamp Inside the Stones, in collaboration with the poet and scholar Wang Ao, was a finalist for the 2012 Cliff Becker Book Prize and is currently seeking a press. She has also translated fiction and interviews, was translation consultant for the book Our Common Suffering: Poetry in Memory of the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake, and lectures frequently in China. Her translations have merited two Ann Kao Foundation Fellowships, and a 2012 DSJ Translation Award.

Her translations have appeared in Pathlight, Inventory, The Best American Poetry website, 天南 Cha, Poetry International Web, Los Angeles Review, Acumen, Pleiades, Cerise Press, The Guardian, PN Review, Seneca Review, and Asymptote. Her book of translations of Wang Xiaoni will be published later this year.

Selected Translations:

A Dictionary of Xinjiang by Shen Wei, published in 天南
Bubbles by Li Li, published in Asymptote
Spinach by Zang Di, published in PN Review
A Painter's Life by Yu Xiang, published on The Best American Poetry blog.

小站

June 15, 2013

This beautiful spinach hasn’t once
hidden you in its green shirt.
You have never worn
any green shirts at all.
You avoid this kind of image –
yet I can clearly remember
your silent flesh resembled
a seed at its apex.
Why does spinach look
beautiful?  Why
do I know you will think
this question, but won’t ask it?
Washing spinach, I feel
its deep green quality
is like a child I had with the plant.
So spinach answers the question
of how we can see in our lives
angels that others say don’t exist.
The beauty of spinach is weak –
when we face the mere fifty square meters
of standard living space, this vivid spinach
is the weakest politics.  On the surface
a bit wild, difficult to clean –
its beauty one might say
is sustained by the power of little irritations.
Yet its nourishment determines
its value, not to the left nor to the right.


translated with Wang Ao
published on the Best American Poetry blog and in PN Review


菠菜
                        臧棣

美丽的菠菜不曾把你
藏在它们的绿衬衣里。
你甚至没有穿过
任何一种绿颜色的衬衣,
你回避了这样的形象;
而我能更清楚地记得
你沉默的肉体就像
一粒极端的种子。
为什么菠菜看起来
是美丽的?为什么
我知道你会想到
但不会提出这样的问题?
我冲洗菠菜时感到
它们碧绿的质量摸上去
就像是我和植物的孩子。
如此,菠菜回答了
我们怎样才能在我们的生活中
看见对他们来说
似乎并不存在的天使的问题。
菠菜的美丽是脆弱的
当我们面对一个只有五十平方米的
标准的空间时,鲜明的菠菜
是最脆弱的政治。表面上,
它们有些零乱,不易清理;
它们的美丽也可以说
是由繁琐的力量来维持的;
而它们的营养纠正了
它们的价格,不左也不右。

June 15, 2013

At the shortest end of the century
the earth bounces
humans busy themselves like monkeys between trees.

But my two hands
lie idle in China’s air.
The tabletop and the wind
are both pure white paper.
I let my significance
happen only at home.

Rinsing white rice
the rice starch drips like milk onto my page.
To be reborn the gourds extend their fingers
and cry out in fear.
Outside, the sunlight cuts with a knife
heaven’s cold heavy snow.

Each day from morning to night
the door is shut tight.
I hang the sun at the angle I need it
some people say, in this town
lives a person who doesn’t work.

Fastened to the walls
between two small pieces of glass the world self-combusts.
The taciturn butterflies flutter everywhere
the universe unknowingly leaks its secrets.
I foretell the tiniest signs of trouble
without eyes.
Without hands.
Without ears.

Each day I write only a few words
like a knife
cutting into the gush of a tangerine’s finely woven juice.
Let layer upon layer of blue light
enter into a world that’s never been described.
No one sees my light
finely woven strand by strand like silk.
In this city I
silently serve as a poet.


6.1995, Shenzhen
published in Pathlight



重新做一个诗人


在一个世纪最短的末尾
大地弹跳着
人类忙得像树间的猴子。

而我的两只手
闲置在中国的空中。
桌面和风
都是质地纯白的好纸。
我让我的意义
只发生在我的家里。

淘洗白米的时候
米浆像奶滴在我的纸上。
瓜类为新生出手指
而惊叫。
窗外,阳光带着刀伤
天堂走满冷雪。

每天从早到晚
紧闭家门。
把太阳悬在我需要的角度
有人说,这城里
住了一个不工作的人。

关紧四壁
世界在两小片玻璃之间自燃。
沉默的蝴蝶四处翻飞
万物在不知不觉中泄露。
我预知四周最微小的风吹草动
不用眼睛。
不用手。
不用耳朵。

每天只写几个字
像刀
划开桔子细密喷涌的汁水。
让一层层蓝光
进入从未描述的世界。
没人看见我
一缕缕细密如丝的光。
我在这城里
无声地做着一个诗人。


1995·6深圳