Jerome Rothenberg spoke as part of the 2017 seminar program on Writing Through: Translation and Othering as Forms of Composition.

Our Next Seminar

Zheng Xiaoqiong (郑小琼)  in conversation with Kate Fagan and Isabelle Li, with an introduction by Prof. Anthony Uhlmann

Please join award-winning Guangdong poet Zheng Xiaoqiong for a reading of her poetry, to be followed by a lively discussion of her writing and work, with translation by Isabelle Li. The event will conclude with refreshments in the foyer. All welcome.

Friday 1 March 2019
11am – 12.30pm

Location: Australia-China Institute for Arts and Culture seminar room (EA.G.03), Parramatta South Campus, Western Sydney University(Corner of James Ruse Drive and Victoria Road, Rydalmere)

Translator and critic Jonathan Stalling writes: “Zheng Xiaoqiong’s poetry exploded on the Chinese literary scene when it won the Liqun Literature Award from Peoples’ Literature in 2007 [...] While some critics have tried to pigeonhole her as a model “migrant worker poet,” her poetry defies the aesthetic expectations this label often implies. At one level her work depicts the painful vulnerability of migrant workers within the grist of factory life, but she does so within a kind of industrial pastoral where machines, fire, and, above all, iron convulse into a terrifying sublime. Stylistically her work is quite complex – readers often confront a great deal of enjambment and ambiguity in and between the lines, as well as copious references to Classical Chinese history, literature, and philosophy that make her work hard if not impossible to categorise.” (Poetry International Web,


Zheng Xiaoqiong (郑小琼) was born in 1980 in Nanchong, Sichuan. In 2001 she left home to work in Dongguan, Guangdong, and began writing poetry. Her poems and essays have appeared in various literary journals, including Poetry(《诗刊》), Flower City (《花城》), and People’s Literature (《人民文学》). She has published over ten collections of poetry, including Women WorkersJute HillZheng Xiaoqiong Selected PoemsThoroughbred PlantRose Manor. Her work has won numerous awards and been translated into many languages, including German, English, French, Korean, Japanese, Spanish, and Turkish.

Isabelle Li is a Chinese Australian writer and translator. She has published in various anthologies and literary journals, including The Best Australian StoriesSoutherly, Westerly, and UTS Writers’ Anthology. Her collection of short stories, A Chinese Affair, was published by Margaret River Press in 2016. Her prose translation has appeared in Sydney Review of Books, and her poetry translations in Mascara and World Literature in China. She is currently studying her Doctor of Creative Arts at Western Sydney University.

Kate Fagan is a poet, songwriter and academic whose most recent book First Light (Giramondo) was short-listed for the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards and the Age Book of the Year Award. She is a former editor-in-chief of How2, the established U.S.-based journal of poetics. Her album Diamond Wheel won the National Film and Sound Archive Award for Folk Recording and she supported Joan Baez on her 2013 tour of Australia/NZ. Kate lectures in literary studies and creative writing at Western Sydney University, where she founded the Poetry & Poetics Project (

Our seminars are free and open to visitors from outside the university. If you want to come along to one of our seminars simply RSVP by sending an email to indicating which seminar you wish to attend.

The Parramatta South campus is accessible by public transport including University shuttle bus. See the Getting to uni page for more details.

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