Poems, translated by Emily Goedde
Esme Curtis, 17/10/19
Now the sound of rain
carries a tone of dense sobs
– Headache Rule
The Poetry Translation Centre, in its description of her work, makes a point that Ms. Yu is a
“millennial”, that her writing is influenced by the internet and that it is “a poetics of youth”.
While this is true, there is more to the vulnerability and ice in her poetic voice than youth.
The disorientating suddenness of Ms. Yu’s verse expresses the often confusing twists and
turns of our relentlessly modern world. This, I believe, can be related to by anyone.
Many of Yu Yoyo’s poems selected here focus on her loss and her pain. As someone who
recently lost a close relative to cancer, I can relate to her accounts of watching the illness
progress all too well. But her poetry looks outwards too, at other fears and thoughts which
populate her world: food safety, human dignity and family. Their haunting, modulated
outrage make you want to linger over every word.
I look forward to exploring more of Yu Yoyo’s already impressive body of work, and hope
that it continues to get translated into English so that more people can enjoy her work.