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Michael Aiken on Ouyang Yu’s Fainting with Freedom (now out of print)

In form and style his poems are typically full of disruptive, unexpected lines, deploying enjambment, malapropism, skilful grammar (as well as wilful disregard for grammar) in service of profundity, humour, and intellectual interrogation. Moments emerge from Yu’s work as a translator and as a language teacher, and his fascinations capture not only an other’s perception of his second language and culture, but also a revision of his first language, and glimpses into parallels (as well as enormous divergences) between the two. There’s something enormously heartening about reading such a living, adventurous book published in English in Australia that can nonchalantly presume the relevance of a treatise on individual Chinese words or characters, or their relationship with English.

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