Michael Juliani with Bonnie Huie on Qiu Miaojin

Michael Juliani with Bonnie Huie
Michael Juliani with Bonnie Huie


In this conversation, Michael Juliani and Bonnie Huie discuss Huie’s new translation of Qiu Miaojin’s Notes of a Crocodile,  a coming-of- age novel about a group of queer friends in late 80’s, post-martial-law Taipei, recently released in May 2017 by NYRB Classics. 

Michael Juliani: You said it took a long time to get Notes of a Crocodile into print. I’m wondering if you could describe how you arrived at translating it.

Bonnie HuieI got into translation on a fluke. It was me not putting two things together in my mind. I studied Chinese in college. I used to do more of my own writing, and I showed it to someone from Taiwan who had her first poetry collection published by a very nice indie publisher and she said, “I would love to have an English translation of my book.” And I said, “Sure, I’ll do it.” And as a gift, she gave me books by Qiu Miaojin.

MJ: How many books did she actually publish?

BH: This is her first published novel, and there was Last Words from Montmartre, published posthumously, and two short story collections. And the diaries, which are two volumes.

MJ: So you came to translation fortuitously. How long ago was that?

BH: Eight years.

MJ: And have you kept up writing your own stuff or have you switched gears to translation?

BH: I switched gears, but there’s no reason I won’t go back. Translating gave me ideas on how to become a more mature writer and focus on formal aspects of the work, and it bought me time to develop. I think it’s one of those professions where you do your best work when you’re older. Maybe that doesn’t pay off as well in terms of marketing and the whole publishing machine, but the truth is, there are a lot of weaknesses in work that is done by people lacking in life experience or lacking in experience writing different forms and taking in language outside of their education.

MJ: It’s interesting you would say that because Qiu wrote so much at such a young age and much of it through the frame of being in school. You mentioned at your event with Eileen Myles at McNally Jackson Bookstore that was one of those aspects of her being in the institution and how that is something she’s always playing against in the writing and this wrath she has for it. We as readers are obviously fascinated with these tragic figures and people who write really well, and a lot, when they’re young.

BH: She is a freak of nature, I think, in some ways. She wrote that book in the eight months after she graduated from college, so basically by the time she was 23. She went to the top school in Taiwan, but once she graduated, she went to work at a teahouse. I mean, that’s a career move. The story starts at the end, with a vow on graduation day, and then it shows the narrator undertaking her vocation as a writer, and then suddenly, you’re reading the entire book she wrote. The book is designed to stoke your fire and persuade you that real talent has a rawness to it. As for the tragic part, Crocodile has a hopeful ending, and readers shouldn’t replace the ending with the author’s death. There’s a gender bias to how we interpret suicide, and to whether we respect the boundary between art and autobiography. Male authors are often afforded a sense of dignity and strength if they kill themselves after a long, self-destructive, self-documented downward spiral that’s just as likely to be a cry for help.

MJ: Really, the whole game is figuring out how you’re going to incrementally build this kind of rhythm for writing, which she obviously has, always this ingrained sense of rhythm that’s so potent through these books. A lot of that has to do with how much time you’re able to devote to it. Maybe that’s what you were alluding to with a sense of being mature. You might have more time to figure out how you’re going to build this rhythmic thinking from which the writing will come.

BH: Building a rhythm is a way of constructing your own narrative, the one you want your life to center on. Qiu hints that productivity is an illusion created by great self-editing. She does work from what sounds like autobiography, but the whole collage aesthetic is what makes the book much greater than her own life experiences at that age. She even says it: it’s so postmodern. She’s constantly pointing it out to the reader: look at what this is, this is just the medium of language.

MJ: I’ve heard a couple of allusions to the difference between these books and her diaries. Because I don’t have access to the diaries myself, I’m wondering what the difference between them is like.

BH: Notes of a Crocodile has a voice that is constructed, that is different from the one in her diaries. This is absolutely a persona and not the author’s private voice.

MJ: How would you characterize her private voice? I’ve heard it described as more cryptic, possibly.

BH: It’s more apparent that she is a humanist who’s piecing together ways to address problems through art. Compared to the diaries, her fiction is much more of a performance. The journals are much less stylized, and less exhibitionistic.

MJ: In terms of the collage form, there’s this idea of montage. I think of it as kind of ritualized, this three-to-five-page, bit-size form for these chapters. It must have been such a gift for her to discover that she could fit things really well into that space. I think Eileen mentioned how each chapter doesn’t really end, but just kind of perches. That’s one of my favorite things about this book – the beginnings and the endings of the chapters really fed this chain that carried the whole book.

BH: I think I mentioned that she was a filmmaker. Her experience working with a time-based medium is really reflected in her sense of pacing, as well as her sequencing and transitions, which are as playful as Godard’s. I think of this book as being the converse of an essay-film. She worked in camera directions, a hand-drawn sketch, still photography, and then set the main character free into the world of live action.

MJ: The book does sort of work like a movie. At least, it has this material-visual aspect to it, for sure, and scenes, and the little dramas of it seem familiarly cinematic.

BH: I wasn’t sure if other people were picking up on that because it’s so multi-layered that, on the most basic level, people fixate on the romantic relationship between the two women, and I do feel there’s a tendency to grasp onto that as a narrative and ignore aspects of the work that are essentially disruptive. Remember that the crocodile said it tried to write about friendship, but nobody paid any attention, so…

MJ: There are a number of ways to relate to it, I think, because there is that cultural-phenomenon aspect to it—there is the aspect of it being a radical work of queer literature, but the reason I’m drawn to it primarily, and the reason I’m drawn to a lot of books in translation, are those disruptions in the form, the collage aspect.

BH: I don’t read a lot of American literature these days. I used to. When I was translating, I was reminded of Burroughs and Dos Passos, and how their works related to mass media. I think that if you don’t read a lot of translation, you tend to default to whatever the dominant narrative form is. I find that a lot of contemporary fiction follows the basic formula of Hollywood movies. People no longer recognize how that structure—the linear, character-driven plot—has taken over our expectations of what canonical work is. It’s bizarre to me that people expect books to relate enjoyable experiences, to take them on a ride.

MJ: Or that it’s relaxing, that you turn on the movie and enjoy it after work to calm yourself down. That’s not how I read literature. I can’t read before going to bed because it doesn’t calm me down, it stimulates me.

BH: Right, it stimulates your mind.

MJ: There’s some kind of moment right now where I think more American readers, at least amongst poets and writers, maybe, are hungry for disruptive forms. I think of John D’Agata or David Shields—these sort of manifestos in favor of disruption. Less of a rigid genre separation between things. More about borrowing. I really see Notes of a Crocodile being invested in those sort of hopes.

BH: But did you notice that Qiu is trying to do that too in her book? Where Lazi is going to Intro to Chinese Lit and saying, “Screw this! I’m the best! Look at me, I’m coming in late—fuck you!”

MJ: I think another thing that either you or Eileen mentioned—it’s a book that has more to do with sociability than literature. She goes to literature class because her lover is there. Her school-going is more based around the activity of her mind and obsessions rather than going to bed educated and swallowing these lessons of the institution. So yeah, it is representing that, even in the content or the action of the character.

BH: It’s about unifying a theory of practice. Your life has to revolve around writing. Defying the lessons of institutions is hard, especially when validation seems within reach. A lot of it is about un-learning what you were taught. Money aside, privilege can really hinder your ability to create art. Maybe it won’t hurt you as a nonfiction writer or a journalist working in genres that relay a kind of objective reality, but in terms of imagination and forms that require a high degree of empathy…

MJ: And listening and translating experiences into language…

BH: Right. You have to have some experience of adversity. And that’s part of the ethos of queer literature, I think. I mean, you can write about homosexual experiences and still not make “queer” literature.

MJ: Eileen was saying that queer literature is actually a very contemporary idea or genre, but that you can look back on long-dead writers, long-ago-written books and understand them as queer authors and queer books.

BH: Both the translator of Last Words and I have had uncanny experiences where we felt connected to the author, although neither of us ever met her. I was in college not long after she died, and we had these academic credits where you could just choose a random topic, and as long as you could find someone to advise it, you could do pretty much anything you wanted. One of my first projects was a queer iconography of St. Sebastian. I have a theory about the meaning of Zoe in Last Words from Montmartre. St. Sebastian has a recurring presence in queer art and links to the artists that Qiu likes, specifically Mishima, who wrote about St. Sebastian in Confessions of a Mask and is famous for that portrait of himself with arrows piercing his body. And Derek Jarman, who made a film about Sebastian. Also, Thomas Mann, in Death in Venice, where Sebastian is like the archetype of gay male beauty.

MJ: And you arrived at that project long before you translated any of Qiu’s work.

BH: Yes, this was 15 years or so before. St. Sebastian also has a special relationship to St. Zoe. St. Sebastian is credited for giving the gift of speech to St. Zoe. Zoe was mute for many years—until she met Sebastian. So when Qiu gives a nod to the gay male artists and writers who gave her her voice, it’s a gesture toward the relationship between Zoe and Sebastian. Qiu is trying to create the equivalent image of St. Zoe in lesbian literature. It’s hard to assimilate this kind of work into the literary canon because of the breadth of literacy involved, because the cultural references are so disparate. It helps if you have a taste for avant-garde cinema—you should be familiar with not only Tarkovsky, but Jarman and Jean Genet and St. Sebastian too, you know? Cixous. The history of gender studies. I mean, it’s not just your national literature.

MJ: I found that with certain translated books oddly the authors were reading Western literature, watching Western movies, American movies, and invested in a lot of things that their contemporaries in the United States would be reading at the same time. That’s the weird thing about translation. You can build a whole new community or canon out of it. Like, “Wow, there’s a Syrian writer who is reading the same things I’m reading. Wow, there’s a Bosnian writer who loves the same movies I love, and I never would have imagined that I’d feel closer to a Syrian and a Bosnian writer than I felt to my American peers.”

BH: That’s why the labels of national literature, even that foreign fiction section at McNally Jackson, are problematic. This book is making a blunt statement about political identity, like which party the author prefers, but of course, you can’t shelve books according to sensibilities, either. It reflects a complex, post-colonial identity, where artists or citizens in general can be very mutable, and self-determination is a driving cultural force. Certain works share a common language, but at the same time, all the characters in Notes of a Crocodile, for instance, speak English, or they have some connection to English through movies, music, or literature. They’re reading it or singing in it. And then the author, through the narrator, is saying, “My influences are Japanese.” The old colonial power. So all those things should be taken into account. If you don’t have freedom of association across borders in art, then art becomes subservient to political, social, and economic institutions.

MJ: Even these characters that the narrator is seeking out and building bonds with are not at all normative for their environment. They’re all subverting something. With Meng Sheng, he’s this totally pathological character that she feels redeemed by in certain ways. She manages to find his empathy even though he seems to be mostly beyond conscience.

BH: Meng Sheng embodies a relationship to privilege in the extreme. We see it in him and in Zhi Rou, who knows that she doesn’t have any real problems, so she tries to create them for herself through relationships. You see it in Lazi too, when she lives with her cousins in this really nice apartment as a student. She feels like, “I don’t deserve this type of furniture.” Then she goes to living with that woman who works in the factory and is being beaten by her boyfriend. Those experiences are important to not only writing but also to ethical development. You can’t spend your whole life avoiding contact with people who seem to be down and out in some way.

MJ: Meng Sheng has all that money and really drops himself into the pit of pathological experience. Becoming a gang member and committing perverse acts of violence. It’s like what you were saying, this plunge or something. I really like how she writes very beautifully and lyrically but also leaves in a lot of the dirtiness or contamination of experience. I think that comes through in the language as well as the content it depicts.

BH: One thing I’ve noticed in writing workshops is that if you incorporate everyone’s feedback, you’ll erase everything that’s unique about the work. The flaws are part of what makes it unique. That’s why creating a style means, to a certain degree, breaking rules, and doing things that copy editors don’t like.

MJ: Yeah, or making people uncomfortable. This book and Last Words from Montmartre are certainly books that make people uncomfortable.

BH: Right, there’s all this scatological humor in it. She refuses to let you have an easy relationship with the narrator. You can’t accept the innocent parts of her without accepting the ugly as well. It brings the reader a little too close for comfort. It’s not the same as storytelling.

MJ: You see the narrator making all these bad choices and taking situations in the most destructive ways. That was, for me, the hard part of reading these two books. You just want to say to her, “You’re making such a mistake. I can see where you can improve your life if you just respond differently to these relationships.” That, for me, was the real sense of living in the ugliness. It goes to something Chris Kraus wrote in I Love Dick: “Isn’t the greatest freedom in the world the freedom to be wrong?” I think Notes of a Crocodile puts such force behind that idea.

BH: A new mistake can cancel out an earlier one, as in the case of Xiao Fan setting the narrator on the right path.

MJ: You said that you haven’t been reading much American literature recently. Are there any books, old or new, from any language, that you feel have a certain kinship with Notes of a Crocodile?

BH: When I was thinking about points of reference, not so much in terms of translating it, but in describing it, I immediately thought of Kathy Acker, because she has that sort of privilege versus personal choices dynamic going on. Her openness to form makes writing feel like improvised music, free of overthinking.

MJ: Blood and Guts in High School is a title that speaks to Notes of a Crocodile and Qiu in a way.

BH: She tries to write her way into literary history by inserting this female character into a male role, her relationship with Rimbaud. Maybe it’s a very ’90s type of thing, but that was the attack style. Notes of a Crocodile was written with young people in mind. It tries to be accessible, versus being purist to the point of alienating most audiences—which can be a great kind of art as well—but maybe it’s better to aim for the center and watch some people absolutely hate the book.

MJ: Could you talk more about your process translating it?

BH: It was very difficult, very messy. From the first page, I felt like I knew how Lazi was supposed to sound—at least the masculine overtones. But the letters were hard because they called for a level of emotional identification. Because she’s kind of cocky early on, I wanted to keep trying to make bold, punchy sentences, which had the opposite of the desired effect. The goal of a love letter is to suck someone into your emotional vortex. Contrary to popular belief, most writing is easy to translate. It’s when you get something that’s hard to translate, that’s when you might have something with substance.

MJ: That seems like a time for a translator to be incredibly creative and free. To access some of the most exciting parts of the work, it’s when there are not obvious transfer points. Like pouring water from one glass to another – sometimes it’s not that easy.

BH: With genre fiction, your ducks are lined up in a row. I don’t even read it first, I just blaze through it and barely edit. When you deal with a text that has potential for a lot of different interpretations, it calls for a methodology, and the author’s style becomes really pronounced. The process of translating this, and other books too, warrants a VH1 Behind the Music documentary [laughs]. There’s so much drama. Really, people get so heated over approaches and voices—everything. I thought about why. Is it because the author is female? Is it because the style isn’t stuffy? Is it because of queer identity politics? The Asian language factor? There are so many landmines. Everybody who comes across it seems very, very sensitive and seems to want their interpretation to be respected and not be overridden by a different version.

MJ: People who have read it in the original and seen what you’ve done with it?

BH: Everybody. Literary drama is the best, though, because it shows that people still think that literature is important and they’re going to get emotional about it.

MJ: In Russia, a year or two ago, someone actually shot another person in an argument over whether poetry or prose was the better form.

BH: Do you by any chance know who shot whom? Who won?

MJ: I don’t know. My instinct is to say that prose probably won. As a poet, maybe that’s why I say that.

BH: I have a feeling it’s the opposite.

MJ: There’s a good history of poets being shot. Rimbaud, actually. But he was shot by another poet!

BH: There was a question of an elevated tone versus a vernacular one. I obviously prefer something off-the-cuff. But it’s much harder for something like that to be treated as serious literature. Making it hyper-real, like a young person’s diaries, versus using a diction, that will say:This is a classic of contemporary Taiwanese literature. That option was considered. Straightening out the syntax and things like that. In the end, a more relaxed style makes some people think, “Oh, this is feminine, this is young, this is overly personal and emotional.” You risk putting the work in a domestic sphere versus the sphere of the intellect or tradition. It’s a high-low type of binary. That’s one of the detriments of choosing to do it that way. That’s how I chose to do it. The first language that Notes of a Crocodile was translated into wasn’t English, it was Japanese, and I have a copy and can read a bit of it. The book translates really well into English, for lots of different reasons, like the direct cultural references and the relative ease of mixing and matching gender. My sense is that Japanese doesn’t provide as fertile a ground.

MJ: There’s some context in American literature for this book. There have already been some debates about high-low, conversational stuff. Some of these battles have been fought over the last fifty years. Not that they’re resolved or that you still don’t hear the same old crap from people who come down hard on that sort of thing.

BH: Do you think it’s a big question now?

MJ: I think that whenever it finds a new shape, the debate crops up. I think there are always a couple people in the room who are nervous about how “emotional” something is. It’s interesting that that’s always on the table. That it is often the concern about how to make something more sophisticated. It remains a conversation about gender, too.

BH: When the author or main character is female, the criteria are changed until they can’t be met. People will complain that on the sentence level, it’s not challenging. But nobody says that about George Orwell. He writes super easy sentences! But then it’s still, “In order to be in the canon, you need to demonstrate ingenuity in terms of deductive logic in each and every sentence!”

MJ: He does write slow and easy prose.

BH: And then there’s a disdain for the content, a reluctance to accept the notion that this person speaking has anything to teach.

MJ: Even with Joan Didion, I feel like often the way her stuff is discussed or praised has to do with how skilled she is at composing a sentence. I always felt like, Sure, that’s a good thing to study, but not so much the most interesting aspect of her work. Obviously, we go to books for different reasons and take different things from authors at different times.  Not everything has to play by the same rules, but there are more exciting things to notice than what is often discussed.

BH: Through translation, I’ve learned to separate meaning from form. When I read other writers in translation, I intuit more of what’s underneath, even if I can’t read the source language. Sometimes what people are really attracted to, what they perceive as intelligent, is ornamentation. Some people go for adjectives, or some gaudy signifier of education, the accouterments of someone who coasts through life on the circumstances of their upbringing, and that’s not a form of artistry.

MJ: They have to disrupt education. Notes of a Crocodile has that idea of disrupting what you know in order to find what’s underneath it.

BH: Even in translating that book, I felt that I was drawing on life experience as opposed to knowledge.

MJ: Like in making choices for what to do in the translation?

BH: Yeah, I think I came prepared in terms of understanding Qiu’s aesthetic. I’m relieved to be well past the trials of Lazi’s age group, but I’m younger than Qiu and her peers, whom I have a certain reverence for. I think of her as continuing to be older than me—as if she were still alive—and would never treat the author and the narrator as the same person. That understanding, as well as distance, made the act of interpretation more organic. Plus I’m an outsider, because much of translation is done by academics, who can bring history and erudition into it. I got rejected from every Ph.D program. But professionalization comes at a cost. With MFA programs, you can become precious about the act of writing. You forget that people write all the time outside of that realm, and that those who have no artistic inclinations often have greater influence over creation and coinage and convention than you do. Copywriters rule the world. Journalists have influence. And you can’t write just for yourself because reception determines half the meaning.

MJ: I grew up as a writer always thinking I would avoid academic environments for creative writing, and then I found myself seeking them out at a certain point. Now having graduated from Columbia, I try to reflect on what things I’m accepting rather than disrupting. It’s easier to be praised for things that maybe you haven’t earned for yourself. That’s true whenever you find yourself in a tense environment of fellow writers. There’s a tendency to glom onto each other. Sometimes that’s a great thing, sometimes it’s a negative thing.

BH: Taking praise seriously can also stunt your development. You get complacent. You shouldn’t do that, especially early in your career. Nobody wants to read literature written by A-students. Even if they buy it, they get mad afterwards.

MJ: Resentment.

BH: Right. And why is that? Lack of self-awareness, the lifelong desire to ingratiate authority.

MJ: Eileen Myles is a great example of someone who went a long time without the comforts of a successful literary career. She was out on a limb for a long time. Only in the last few years has she been taken in by some institutions. She really was in the field, so to speak, out in the cold for a long time. She’s originally how I heard about Qiu’s books. Her writing about them in Bookforum. I think Maggie Nelson also mentioned Last Words at some panel I saw, so I had to check it out. I think that’s inherent to really interesting translation work that’s going on—you hear about a lot of it through word of mouth or from someone you’re already reading and engaged with, because there’s not such a big audience for work in translation, still. It’s exciting to seek things out and hear about them in this clandestine way.

BH: I felt some really strong resonances with Eileen’s work, too. I appreciate what she does on a formal level. She knows how to put torque in a sentence. She bends form to her will. It’s all very calculated. It’s an accurate construction of situations that the principles of grammar don’t lead you towards.

MJ: There’s no one else that does what she does. Her work more than anyone else’s, I read it and think, “How did you do that? What path carried you there?”

BH: Eileen read the first draft of the translation. She really supported leaving in things that seemed risky and unconventional. The process was less rational than with other texts. It was more like dealing with poetry than prose. With Qiu’s writing, there are just some lines where you know you can take it so many directions. With an easy sentence, you can get the same basic idea, but you try on different adjectives, you fine-tune the verbs, you adjust the tone, or so on. With Notes of a Crocodile, there are places where you can get a couple different meanings out of a single sentence.

MJ: You said that those sentences could have been done four or five different ways. That really is like translating poetry. You can’t transfer it directly—it resists that inherently. Some people try, disastrously. It’s about transferring the energy and the person rather than the words or the sentences.

BH: Parts of speech create huge obstacles. The idea that you should even try to maintain parts of speech in translation is ridiculous. Don’t ever do that because you won’t arrive at the meaning. Words have essences that transcend parts of speech and half the time you throw those parts out the window—the grammar, the syntax, everything about the formal structure that is unique to a language—and you just keep the essences, emotions, or concepts in their abstract form, preserving their symbolic, visual, or sensual value. Then you link them together in a linear fashion, but without being literal. You’re trying to capture all the elements without the language itself.

MJ: Which is an exciting way and a very “poetical” way of writing, working with intuition and building connections between things that resist connection. In your translation, I think that is true to how even these paragraphs move together. She’ll move through description very associatively, and make links between events that associate sensually rather than through plot or one foot in front of the other.

BH: Have you watched much Tarkovsky?

MJ: I haven’t. I should. My friend just saw Stalker last night and he came home very happy and excited by it. Geoff Dyer wrote that book Zona, where he narrates the movie in a certain way and departs from it in order to describe other things and just associates his way through 200 pages, using the film as a structuring force for that.

BH: I’ve been meaning to read that. I have the book that Tarkovsky wrote, where he talks about how, when he started doing that, when he’d put in non-chronological sequences based on dream logic, he got criticized by the film authorities.

MJ: The film authorities!

BH: [Laughs.] The people with the money and, I guess, the stamps. You see that most vividly in Mirror. I think that’s the most complex Tarkovsky and the best. It’s abstract and autobiographical—there’s nothing like it. It’s seminal. Chris Marker was a huge fan of Tarkovsky. I think Mirror is the one that started it all. It begins with this man who’s stuttering. Opening scene. I cry every single time I watch it. This man stutters and then he finally says, “I can speak.” He’s in front of a camera. It’s like a film within a film. You can see how they’re recording something that is badly lit and you can see the boom, the shadow of the boom, and he’s on-camera and they’re trying to force him to speak in front of the camera. It’s a director’s film. It’s made for other filmmakers. He can get away with being tedious, but then, out of nowhere, something comes to life. He can be so heavy and philosophical that it’s hard to be satisfied by anyone else afterward. Mirror is, in my opinion, the end-all film. It’s a feature film, but really it’s just a poetic sequence of images in the mind of a man reflecting back on his life from the time perspective of his death. I mean, there’s no narrative to tell you this, but that’s what it is.

Time perspective can change everything. When I was reading Qiu’s work, I remembered one of the most romantic plays I’ve ever seen, which is Harold Pinter’s Betrayal. It’s told backwards. There’s a love triangle between a man, his best friend, and the best friend’s wife. It’s tragic because the wife doesn’t leave her husband. It’s about an adulterous relationship never fully realized. The affair is abandoned, but it only appears tragic in retrospect. If you watched it going forward, you would not have a sense of tragedy. But if you start with the outcome, which is unhappiness, then you see that the decision to go down one road and not the other was wrong. It meant violating an ethical principle. I like that level of complexity.

MJ: I do have one last question about something that’s inherent to all writing, but especially translation, which is thinking about where it’s published. When a publisher puts this book out, what does the publisher’s context do for the book? Do you have any thoughts about being published by NYRB and what that means for the book?

BH: It’s the right home. I feel very confident in that. The Classics series champions all kinds of minor aesthetics, books that don’t aspire to the kind of broad, sweeping strokes used to paint the winners of history. The commercial forces in publishing are difficult to contend with. It’s hard to justify the cost of undertaking a translation, even if there is money involved. You have to be deeply invested in the work in order to do it, but maybe that’s a problem that most writers and poets have to contend with.

MJ: That’s what poetry is, really.

BH: Publishers have a bad reputation for addressing diversity and taking risks because of market conditions. I think that this book is a chance to show that even publishing needs to be aware of silent majorities. This book stands for a kind of intersectionality. The reality is that sometimes weakness turns out to be the biggest strength.

Michael Juliani is a poet, editor, and journalist from Pasadena, California. His work has appeared in outlets such as BOMB, The Adirondack Review, Impakter, Los Angeles Times, Truthdig, and the Huffington Post. The editor of three books by the filmmaker and photographer Harun Mehmedinovic, he earned a BA in Print & Digital Journalism from the University of Southern California and an MFA in poetry from Columbia University. He lives in New York City.

Bonnie Huie is a literary translator of Chinese and Japanese. Her most recent work is Notes of a Crocodile, Qiu Miaojin’s coming-of- age novel about a group of queer friends in late 80’s, post-martial-law Taipei, which was released in May 2017 by NYRB Classics. She is the recipient of a PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant, and her rendition of Motojirō Kajii’s modernist short story “Under the Cherry Blossoms” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She has also translated the work of Okinawan political novelist Tatsuhiro Ōshiro. Her essays and translations appear in The Brooklyn Rail, Kyoto Journal, and Afterimage.

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