Breaking “The Great Taboo”: A Translation of Li Bai’s 李白 “Drinking Alone Beneath the Moon 月下獨酌”

There is a tradition among English translators of Chinese poetry that all Chinese poems should be translated as unrhymed free-verse. This tradition goes back at least as far as Ezra Pound–whose “translations” bear little resemblance to their originals–and is very much alive and kicking. So much so that I am borrowing Nathan Sivin’s term, “The Great Taboo,” to describe it. Continue reading

The Land of Imaginary Things: A Sample Chapter

The Land of Imaginary Things is my young-adult fantasy novel. Elanor, twelve, has lost her father, and with him her first and favorite playmate and fellow lover of stories. Her chest is tight and her life is cold. One morning she wakes to find herself in the Land of Imaginary Things, the land where all the things humans imagine—talking animals, cursed forests, immortal librarians—are real and alive. Continue reading

Zora Neale Hurston on Being Black in America: Ninety Years Later

Hurston-Zora-Neale-LOC[UPDATE: I’m pleased to let you know that this essay has been published on The Columbia Review‘s website.] Commencement season at Barnard College this year will mark the ninetieth anniversary of Zora Neale Hurston’s graduation with a BA in anthropology. As a graduate of Barnard’s sister institution, Columbia University, I feel the time is more than ripe to reflect on some of Hurston’s contributions. Continue reading