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Authors: Eleanor Goodman
This anthology offers a glimpse into the life of laborers in contemporary China, a virtually unknown world to those outside of it, yet one that informs the lives of everyone on the planet. The thirty poets presented here constitute a range of ages and experience, born from the late 1960s to the 1990s. They have worked in coalmines, warehouses, construction sites, print shops, dry cleaners, and on assembly lines in every kind of factory. They are frequently termed ‘migrant workers’ for their internal peregrinations and uncertain work lives, and some common themes run throughout their work: a sense of loss and rootlessness from leaving their rural hometowns; guilt over abandoning aging parents and young children; horror at painful, debilitating injuries either personally suffered or witnessed; a deep alienation from the taxing and repetitive labor they are forced into by financial necessity; a despair at the environmental and psychological toll their jobs exact; and an abiding desire for an escape into words, particularly into poetry. These poems present powerful, heartfelt descriptions of the rarely seen world that produces the products that go onto the shelves of stores across the world. The human cost not only of China’s economic rise, but of the West’s desire for consumer goods is evident throughout. Just as evident is the talent and tenacity of these brave writers.
Eleanor Goodman is a writer and translator. She is a Research Associate at the Fairbank Center at Harvard University and spent a year at Peking University on a Fulbright Fellowship. Her book of translations, Something Crosses My Mind, by Wang Xiaoni was the recipient of a 2013 PEN/Heim Translation Grant. Goodman has been an artist in residence at the American Academy in Rome, was awarded a Henry Luce Translation Fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center and received the International Merit Award in Poetry from the Atlanta Review. Her work appears in publications such as PN Review, The Quarterly Conversation, Fiction, Pathlight, Cha, The Guardian, Pleiades, Acumen, Perihelion, The Los Angeles Review and on The Best American Poetry web site.
“Iron Moon is a monumental achievement. It redraws the boundaries of working-class poetry for the new millennium by incorporating at its center issues like migration, globalization, and rank-and-file resistance. We hear in these poems, line by line and life by life, what Zheng Xiaoqiong calls “a language of callouses.” This isn’t a book about the lost industrial past; it’s a fervent testimony to the horrific, hidden histories of the 21st century’s working-class and a clarion call for a more cooperative and humane future.”
— Mark Nowak, author of Coal Mountain Elementary
—Jared Smith, Director at The New York Quarterly Foundation
|$16.00||204 pages (Original Trade Paperback)||ISBN: 978-1-945680-03-8||2016|