| by Eva Gudbergsdottir


John Balcom and Wu Sheng in Monterey
Professor John Balcom with Taiwanese poet and activist Wu Sheng in Monterey in September, 2019.

Middlebury Institute Professor John Balcom of the Chinese Translation and Interpretation degree program recently published a new book of translated poetry by the Taiwan poet Wu Sheng, titled My Village: Selected Poems, 1972-2014.

Balcom Cover

The book was published by Zephyr Press and was Professor Balcom’s twelfth volume of translated poetry, his fifth with Zephyr Press. To mark the occasion, a Chinese version of the introduction was published in the May issue of Wenhsun Magazine, a literary arts magazine published in Taiwan. 

Wu Sheng: (b. 1944) is a poet, essayist, farmer, teacher, and environmental activist.

Balcom and Wu Sheng have corresponded for about forty years, but had never met until the poet visited him in Monterey last fall. He came with a film crew who were making a documentary film about him. “As the English-language translator of his work with this collection in the works, they also wanted to interview me,” Balcom shares. 

John Balcom is an award-winning translator of Chinese literature, philosophy, and children’s books. He is a past president of the American Literary Translators Association and has also served on the Literary Translation Committee of the International Federation of Translators. He has lived and worked in mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, and joined the MIIS T&I faculty in 1993.

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Eva Gudbergsdottir