Friday, June 16, 2006

Paradise, Wang Ping

Eighth in the series is Wang Ping's Paradise, a series of poems and oral histories that chronical the effects of globalization on Chinese workers. An excerpt:

My Mountain Lotus,
Is this the paradise you've been seeking--
sweatshop, factory, restaurant, hair salon, house cleaning?
You wept in each letter: lonely, tired, broke, broke.
"Come home," I said, "better poor together than rich apart."
"Only fools like you plough the fields," you wrote back.
Then no words or money, only cousin's message:
"She rubs foreigners' feet in hotels
and hangs with fat old men.
Earrings, bracelets, hair like a bird nest . . .
Oh man she look shot, but not for you.
Hurry, claim your right as a man.
Enclosed is travel money.
Work on construction sites to pay me back."

WANG PING was born in Shanghai and grew up on a small island in the East China Sea. After three years of farming in a mountain village, she attended Beijing University. In 1985 she left China to study in the U.S., earning her Ph.D. from New York University. She is the acclaimed author of the short story collection American Visa, the novel Foreign Devil, the poetry collection Of Flesh and Spirit, the cultural study Aching for Beauty: Footbinding in China, and most recently The Magic Whip, a second collection of poetry. Wang is also the editor and co-translator of the anthology New Generations: Poetry from China Today. She lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, and teaches at Macalester College.

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