Dong Li

Artist in Residence, 2024

Artist Statement

I am a multilingual writer and translator from Chinese, English, French, and German. A perennial student of these languages. A poet of the lost world. My writing seeks to translate the unspeakable and the unspoken into lyrically charged lines and sentences. I peel the layers of a story for the mess, where music and meaning morph into new modalities, where poetry and prose merge into new aesthetic complexity and clarity. In the chorus and collision between languages, my poetics articulates forms that suggest their origins and point toward solidarity.

While at Headlands

I recently published my debut poetry collection The Orange Tree that traces the overall arc of my family history. At Headlands, I’d like to focus on my second collection of poetry, a sequel to The Orange Tree. An homage to my mother and mothers, this is a book of hard familial love, survival, and memory. I would also like to bring this new manuscript into German myself, as a way of revising the English.

Writing Sample Links:

The Orange Tree University of Chicago Press, 2023 (debut poetry collection)

The Gleaner Song Deep Vellum, 2021 (English translation of the Chinese poet SONG Lin, US bilingual edition)

The Gleaner Song Giramondo Publishing, 2021 (Australian edition)

The Wild Great Wall Deep Vellum, 2018 (English translation of the Chinese poet ZHU Zhu)

Gesellschaft für Flugversuche Carl Hanser Verlag, 2019 (German co-translation of the Chinese poet ZANG Di)

《安妮特》Jiangsu Phoenix Literature & Art Publishing, 2022Chinese translation of the biographical verse-novel Annette, ein Heldinnenepos/Annette, une épopée by the French-German author Anne Weber

《相伴》 East China Normal University Press, 2020 (Chinese translation of Be With by the American poet Forrest Gander)

《新生》East China Normal University Press, 2022 (Chinese translation of Twice Alive by the American poet Forrest Gander)