Archives For china

Allen Ginsberg in Asia

Asia had long been a source of inspiration and fascination for Allen Ginsberg by the time he finally set foot on the continent. As a precocious child, he had been curious about the great ancient kingdoms of India and China, and equally delighted in reading about the contemporary political climate of the region as he moved into his teenage years. Walt Whitman, one of his major literary inspirations, had impressed him deeply with a poem called “Passage to India.” His friendship with William S. Burroughs, begun at Columbia in 1944, pushed him to believe in Oswald Spengler’s theory of western decline, with Asia rising in the east to supplant the falling empires of the west, and later Jack Kerouac introduced Allen to Buddhism, which friends like Gary Snyder and Phillip Whalen subsequently nurtured t as it grew in the late fifties. In 1953, he developed an obsession with Asian art that grew into a belief that the ancient East possessed an unrivalled sophistication. Continue Reading…

The Mystery of Allen’s Ginsberg’s “Reading Bai Juyi”

On December 5th, 1984, while laid up sick in Shanghai, Allen Ginsberg wrote one of his lesser-known masterpieces, “Reading Bai Juyi.” The poem begins by talking about Allen’s first month in China, where he had been teaching and travelling after a short visit with a delegation of American writers, and ends with a short biographical piece that copies a poem by Tang Dynasty poet, Bai Juyi.  Continue Reading…

Hunter S. Thompson Translated into Chinese

In the past few months, we’ve brought you news about Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and William S. Burroughs being translated into Chinese. It may seem like a minor miracle that these authors’ works have been allowed to go on sale in this notoriously censorious country, yet it is even more unusual that Hunter S. Thompson’s drug-fueled escapades have been published for the Chinese market, too. Continue Reading…

Allen Ginsberg’s Chinese Translations

Last week, I updated an old post on Chinese translations of Jack Kerouac’s novels. The article proved surprisingly popular, in fact knocking our website out temporarily after seeing 33,000 visitors in just three hours! I will try to keep it up-to-date in future, as it seems every year China gets a new translation of a Kerouac novel. Continue Reading…

Chinese Kerouac Covers

Jack Kerouac‘s novels, particularly On the Road, are popular all around the world. When Allen Ginsberg arrived in China in 1984, he was surprised to find Kerouac’s name on the tip of Chinese tongues around the university campuses. When Beatdom editor, David S. Wills, first visited China in 2008, he found Kerouac’s books on street corners and in bookstores across the country. Even his favorite bar was a tip of the cap to Kerouac. Its name was 在路上 – lit. “on the road”. Continue Reading…

Shanghai Wishes Allen Ginsberg a Happy Birthday

Today, June 3rd, is Allen Ginsberg’s birthday. All around the world, people are raising a glass or otherwise celebrating the life and work of this great man.

In China, a country not known for its freedom of speech, Ginsberg’s epic poem, “Howl”, will be given its first bilingual public reading. There aren’t many English language links for this event, but here’s one. And here’s the cool poster to accompany it:
Ginsberg in ShanghaiThe Chinese social network, Sina Weibo, has a lot of information and translations of Ginsberg’s work in celebration of his birthday. Check out this post by Beatdom editor, David S. Wills, for more information. Also see Kerouac’s Chinese translation covers.