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Lust in translation

Updated: 2015-12-21 07:57
By Raymond Zhou (China Daily)

Strangely, he didn't change that.

Rather, he sprinkled lines with sexual imagery.

Feng also adopted some strange tactics, such as highlighting a word or two by putting them in separate lines of their own-words that are part of a flowing sentence in the original text.

Most dubious of all, the choice that convinced me of his mediocrity, is his insistence on rhyming.

He had stated earlier that a poem without rhyme is not really a poem. For me, this is tantamount to saying dance without ballet moves is not really dance.

A professional writer who holds this belief falls into the category of craftsperson.

I hope someone proves me wrong, but I firmly believe that we're way past the rhyme-or-no-rhyme debate and, though it may defy definition, we know a poem when we read it.

Worse still, Feng's rhyming lines are often limericks at best. They do not carry the internal rhythm that goes with ancient verses.

He often includes words wildly disparate in style ostensibly for the purpose of rhyming. The result is a hodgepodge with potential for a comedian's material. If he had called it a spoof of Tagore, it would be judged as competent-perhaps even brilliant.

Yet, what Feng lacks is a sense of self-deprecation, which I consider a sign of maturity for a great writer or a good comedian.

He has this look-at-me attitude that smacks of colossal insecurity. Once he was asked to write a preface for famed sexologist Li Yinhe. Feng turned in a piece all about how great he was, without a single word about Li or her book.

His swipe at Han Han, another crossover whiz kid, was redolent of jealousy.

Han talks more about his auto racing than about his writing, which raised Feng's suspicions.

But Han positions himself as an entertainer more than a serious writer and he is treated and paid as such.

Feng wants to possess both-the weight of a serious writer and the popularity of a mass entertainer.

He should be reminded that writing is a lonely profession. You don't see Mo Yan or Yu Hua flaunting their romances or being portrayed on the big screen as the object of affection by screen goddess Fan Bingbing.

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