#1 . Fiona Sze-Lorrain

Singapour, 1980

Fiona Sze-Lorrain is a poet, literary translator, editor, and musician who writes and translates in English, Chinese, and French. A French national born in Singapore, she grew up in a hybrid of cultures. She graduated from Columbia University [B.A. in Drama and Theater Arts, East Asian Studies, and French] and New York University [M.A. in Performance Studies] before obtaining her Ph.D. in French from Université Paris IV-Sorbonne.

Her latest collection of poetry The Ruined Elegance was published by Princeton University Press in 2016 as part of the Princeton Series of Contemporary Poets, and was named by Library Journal as one of its “Best Books 2015: Poetry.” It was also a finalist for the 2016 Los Angeles Times Book Prize. My Funeral Gondola, Sze-Lorrain’s second volume of poetry, was published as a Mãnoa Books title by El León Literary Arts in 2013, and was a finalist in Poetry for the 2014 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Her debut poetry title Water the Moon appeared in 2010 and received a Honorable Mention for the 2011 Eric Hoffer Book Award in Poetry. Invisible Eye (2015), a selection of Sze-Lorrain’s poems translated into Chinese by Taiwanese poet Ling Yu, was released in Taiwan in a bilingual edition. Some of her poems have also been translated into French and Italian.

A widely published translator of contemporary Chinese poetry, Sze-Lorrain is a finalist for the 2016 Best Translated Book Award and was longlisted for the 2014 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation. Among her numerous translations are her five books of contemporary Chinese poets—Bai Hua [Wind Says, 2012], Yu Xiang [I Can Almost See the Clouds of Dust, 2013], Lan Lan [Canyon in the Body, 2014], Zhang Zao [Mirror, forthcoming], and Yin Lichuan [Karma, forthcoming]—from the Jintian series at Zephyr Press, and her prose translations of Hai Zi. She has also translated essays by Bai Hua, Bei Dao, and Ma Jian, as well as a long memoir-essay by Zhang Langlang. In addition, Sze-Lorrain has translated Romanian-born French poet Ghérasim Luca, Auxeméry [Mingus, méditations, 2011], and American poet Mark Strand [Almost Invisible/Presque invisible, 2012]. Her translation of essays in Russian-American photographer Alexey Titarenko’s monograph, The City Is a Novel, was published by Damiani in September 2015. A Tree Planted in Summer, a selection of her translations of Taiwanese poet Ling Yu, appeared in November 2015. Also out in 2016 are Sea Summit—her book of translations of selected poetry by Chinese woman poet and theater scenographer Yi Lu—from Milkweed Editions, and Chariots of Women—a book of translations of Taiwanese poet Amang—from Fembooks in Taipei. Sze-Lorrain has co/guest-edited the Mãnoa anthologies, Sky Lanterns: New Poetry from China, Formosa, and Beyond (2012), On Freedom: Spirit, Art, and State (2013), and Starry Island: New Writing from Singapore (2014), all from the University of Hawai‘i Press. With Gao Xingjian, she co-authored Silhouette/Shadow: The Cinematic Art of Gao Xingjian (Contours, 2007). A cofounding editor of Cerise Press, a tri-annual international online magazine of literature, arts and culture (2009-13), she was a corresponding editor of Mãnoa: A Pacific Journal of International Writing (2012-14), and a Distinguished Visiting Writer at the University of Hawai‘i-Mãnoa in fall 2013. She was invited as an international poet for the 2015 Taipei Poetry Festival, and has been a visiting poet at several American universities and colleges. Her work has been supported by fellowships from Yaddo, Writers Omi at Ledig House, and the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico.

Currently, she works as an editor at Vif Éditions, a small independent French press in Paris.




Bedroom, I

Where silence must endure twelve seconds and beyond.

Where the archetypal memories of man versus woman/woman versus man
have nothing to do
with each other. They continue to swim at night.

Where white is blue, happiness the year two thousand and nine.

Where neither parents nor parenthood exists.

Where I wake early, even though I almost never sleep on time.


Shoebox Filled with Mao Buttons  

Stubs of sun, deflated saffron orns, scoop up a fistful—
they chink and clank, megaphones chime The East is Red.

Betrothal gifts à la mode, virgin factory girls gave sex
to comrades, and pinned their souls to Chairman.

Students bartered them for steamy pork buns,
a professor swallowed two to commit suicide.

Plexi-glass sunflowers, now dark-pitted eyes.
Italicized mementos in a Pandora’s box,

Mao becomes money under a torchlight,
his mole is art, postmodern aesthetics, the rust is a lie.

Denounce it?  Flip one over, needle enjambed,
hook still knifing, yes, there is blood tinning on your thumb.



Pigeons do not need to eat organic bread.

I water the plants like a maniac. In other words, before every meal.



Notas de prensa


Quién es Fiona Sze-Lorrain, la poeta de Singapur que llegó a la Argentina
Infobae, 19 de junio de 2018


Fiona Sze-Lorrain, la poeta que es fan de Pizarnik y toca el arpa
La Nación, 15 de junio de 2018


Un foro para el diálogo y la creación
Página 12, 15 de junio de 2018

Fiona Sze-Lorrain en Buenos Aires
Fiona Sze Lorrain — Poesía en dos lenguas
Fiona Sze-Lorrain y Jorge Monteleone — Vivir entre lenguas