How are the migration of people and of poetry, through literary translation and translational literature, linked or alike? What can the poetry of migration teach about the translation of form in poetry? What is the role of the text in understanding the politics of poetry in politicized contexts? Island: Poetry and History of Chinese Immigrants on Angel Island, 1910–1940 is an important collection and translation of poems etched in the walls of the Angel Island detention center. Though the Angel Island poems were mostly composed after the 1919 vernacular revolution in Chinese literature, they were written in classical Chinese and premodern forms. Island translates them into stiff free-verse academic English, asking English-language readers to imaginatively project poetic beauty onto the originals. Other translations, such as Teow Lim Goh's Islanders (2016) and Jeffrey Thomas Leong's Wild Geese Sorrow (2018), render the poems with more attention to the dominant styles of contemporary American poetry. This article argues for a retranslation of the Angel Island poems—not into free verse but with formalist attention to meter and rhyme in English. Such translations could blur the dichotomy between the former's target-oriented poetics and the latter's source-oriented translations and also offer a stronger migration into English for the poetry of these migrants.

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