ABP- Thank you for taking the time to be a featured here, Xi. Back in May of this year, we were lucky enough to present “Brandy: Hybrid Texts”. What can you tell us about that book.
Xi Nan: The book Brandy is about an old good friend, our friendship, and a precious and unforgettable period of time in the past. The title of the book “Brandy” is exactly the name of this good friend of mine. Even today, still, I say that she was one of the best friends I have ever had. Documenting that period of time is very important to me. On the other hand, I also hope that by writing this book, I can re-examine my life and re-understand the influence that period of time has brought to me. This feeling is different, there emerges many new discoveries that I didn’t find out at the time. In addition, I also tried a few different writing methods in this book, which may have made it a bit like a combination of a novel and a long poem – this process has made me feel very free.
ABP- What is the translation process like in writing a bilingual poetry book? Do you work with a translator?
XN: I usually write my own works in Chinese, and at the same time I am a translator who translates between Chinese and English. As to this work Brandy, I firstly wrote it in Chinese and then translated it into English. It is not so difficult to translate your own work, because you know your own work best. So it can be said that the process of translating Brandy was very pleasant and cheerful. I rarely work together with other translators, because you will also need to consider issues such as the consistency of the language style, and so forth; might try it some time though, when the opportunity comes.
ABP- Who are some of your biggest influences as a writer?
XN: In my early years of writing, I was more susceptible to other writers, and I even tried to imitate their tone to write. I think that was positive in the early stages, at least it was some kind of start. But today, after more than ten years of professional writing, I try my best to avoid too much influence from others in my work. I am not a person who reads a lot, too. Sometimes I feel this can be a good thing from certain aspect, for example, it may be less susceptible to others and easier to find the most suitable writing language for myself (such as this book Brandy is one of the attempts), and so forth. I am still on the road to find my own unique way of writing.
ABP- Do you have any plans for the rest of 2020 and beyond? Any new releases in your future?
XN: Firstly, I will continue my own writing. At present, I am writing two relatively long serial works, both of which are quite special. They are not quite the same as my writings in the recent years, hopefully they could successfully meet their suitable publisher(s) and readers this or next year. At the same time, poet Fish Lu and I have just established a small publishing studio in China last month. One of the important things is to translate the works of some niche but mature Chinese authors into English and seek publication overseas. The two books that have been confirmed so far are: Chinese poet Zhou Li’s poetry collection 207th Bone (Simi Press), which is forthcoming in August this year, and Cai Gentan’s poetry collection Broken Uterus (Terror House Press), which is scheduled to be released early next year. Both books will be translated by myself.
ABP- Do you have a poem that you would like to share?
XN: Thanks, Red. I will share a poem that I recently wrote.
My shoe-addiction seizure comes again
Tuck my feet into
This pair of nude-color silk-fabric
Low-heel pointed party shoes
On each toecap there is inlaid square-shape
Standing in front of the bed and ask you
Do I look good?
And I’m wearing at the moment my favorite
Black waisted silk dress, too
It slits to knee-length on the right side
Sling cheongsam collar
Feeling happy myself and walk into the living room
The heels step on the wooden floor
Making pretty sounds
The lights aren’t switched on in the living room
The air is dim
Almost five o’clock in the afternoon
Don’t understand why every day
After the nap
It’s five o’clock already
“Time is like an arrow”
Probably means this
Let me tell you–
I sit in the dim air
Sideways facing the front door
The three-leaf old ceiling fan
Is blowing my dress to rub my skin
Then I light up
Which was bought ad hoc midnight the day before yesterday
(That uncontrollable desire)
I ran downstairs and bought it
A Shuangxi (means “double happiness”) brand
ABP– The floor is all yours, Xi. Is there anything at all you would like to say to our wordpress followers?
XN: I like the writing and publishing environment in the United States very much. They are both very free. You can write what you want, and you can publish what you think is good. I have lived in the UK for more than ten years, from 2004-2017, but there was very little communication with English authors and readers at the time. I found that the writing and publishing environment in the United States is quite different from that in the United Kingdom. Long story in short, I think that you are the most energetic and creative group in the current world. I hope I will find more writing friends here and become one of them. Thank you, Red, for giving this space to share some of my thoughts.
About Xi Nan:
Xi Nan (Nancy) 西楠, born in China, writes and translates, indie publisher, author of different genres. Latest hybrid texts: Brandy (published by Alien Buddha Press). Her Twitter is: @XiNan_Nancy