Abstract

This article advances a critical account of Chinese internet poetry as performative speech acts by focusing on the rise of Yu Xiuhua as a “crip” figure. Then, discussing Yu's poetry as world literature via translation, it posits a performative framework of translation as a response to the changing notion of textuality and hermeneutic of Chinese poetry in our transmedial ecology. Treating translation as performance requires a move toward an understanding of poetry as not merely textual scripts but also as dynamic cultural performances of a poetic voice that is aided by its tonal, affective, and narrative repertoire. The article cross-examines various English translations of Yu's sensationally received poem “Crossing China to Sleep with You” in order to demonstrate a comparative reading practice that strives for an intertexual dialogue among various translations of a given poem. Such a multiplication of translated textuality puts into motion a poem's rhetoricity and the cultural work that it performs. This article thus envisions a critical pedagogy of teaching translated literature, namely, cataloging multiple translations of the same text and cross-analyzing the formal and performative tension that they present enables a reading experience and practice that is more cross-culturally vital and ethical.

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