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Wolfgang Kubin: I'm a traditional Chinese literary man

By : InKunming | Published: 2013-October-28

Wolfgang Kubin, a famous German sinologist and poet, delivers a public lecture about German contemporary poetry during the first National South-West Associated University International Literature Festival on October 24. (Photo/ Tracy)   

All seats are occupied in the lecture hall. An audience asks questions to Kubin. (Photo/ Tracy)

Wolfgang Kubin, a famous German sinologist, poet, translator, delivered a lecture about German contemporary poetry during the first National South-west Associated University International Literature Festival in Yunnan Normal University, Kunming on October 24.

"I am a traditional Chinese literary man." Kubin said, "I have dedicated all my love into Chinese literature."

Fluent in mandarin, Kubin introduced the position of poetry in German society during the two and a half hours' lecture on the contemporary situation of German poetry and the definition of good poets. He said, being familiar with the situation of German contemporary poetry can help students know more about Chinese contemporary poetry, because the two subjects have a lot of similarities, especially the poems of German after 1945 and China after 1949.

Reviewing his creation experience, Kubin said he started writing at the age of 16. However, his poems were never published until 30 years later. Stephane Mallarme, a famous French poet of symbolism, once said, a good poet should put his or her works away in drawers and keep silence for at least 20 years before publishing them. Kubin felt lucky that he published his first collection of poem after 30 years' silence after a poem reading as both a poem translator and a poet.

As a renowned literary translator, Kubin has translated for over 40 years. Even though he doesn't like doing translation as it is exhausted, he spends 3 hours in translation every day.

"Who else would like to translate except me? That is the reason why I translate." Kubin has also trained many students, but they are busying translating novels, for novels are more popular and profitable than poetry.

Kubin has translated many Chinese poetries, including the History of Chinese Poetry, Lu Xun's Selection, and poems written by some modern poets including Ouyang Jianghe(欧阳江河), Xi Chuan(西川), Shu Ting(舒婷), etc. He praised that Shu Ting at least has 6 life-enhancing poems.

"I could not understand the poems written by Ouyang Jianghe when translating his works, but I felt like translating the best works in the world."

"A good literature requires for a brave writer who dares to say and never flatter. A good literature requires a writer to write for literature, for himself and for the readers, but not for money."

Kubin said that he does not feel upset about the marginalization of poems in the society. On the contrary, he feels happy. In Kubin's opinion, it is the border position that creates so many extraordinary poems and poets. " Because this kind of poets can not flatter or make any money. They have to write good poems."

At the same time, Kubin said, it does not matter if people do not understand good literary works at present, because these works will cultivate us. This is also a new trend in German. People look forward to hearing a complicated voice which can help them remind what is needed in our realities and lives, even though people fail to understand it when hearing it for the first time.

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