“They just squat and occupy it. Even when they are sick, they still want to occupy something.”
Broken Uterus is a collection of poems by Cai Gentan, one of the most celebrated voices in contemporary Chinese poetry. Comprising five distinct chapters focusing on sexual relationships, Chinese history, hospital life, and more, Gentan’s clear-eyed, stark verse offers an engaging and comedic glimpse at modern China and its cultural contradictions.
Broken Uterus is the English-language poetry debut of Cai Gentan. This edition of the book was translated by Chinese poet Xi Nan and features a introduction by her. Broken Uterus also includes several poems published by Terror House Magazine in 2019.
“This is a fascinating collection. Broken Uterus manages to be melancholy, beautifully sublime, wickedly irreverent, and wildly entertaining all at the same time. It pays dutiful homage to the ambiguous spirit of an ancient land while injecting the element of brutal slapstick that has characterized China for the past 71 years.” — Ted Prokash, Joyless House Publishing
“Cai Gentan is different in the contemporary Chinese poetry world. His poems have the characteristics of colloquialism, reaching directly the social reality and the chronic illness of flesh and soul. The words, images, and cruel poetic meanings in his poems often make people tremble. In this collection, the group-poem ‘Hainan Hospital’ is an important in-depth image and metaphoric commonality concerning the times, society, and soul. His writing is critical of reality and has the characteristic of ‘being on the scene’ as mentioned in poetry discussions. Through his unique language and writing style, he shows the darkness and ambiguity in politics, humanity, and the soul. His greatest contribution is that he’s constructed the earliest ‘diseased narrative (疾病叙事)’ of Chinese poetics in the 21st century.” — Jiang Xue (江雪)
“Cai Gentan is a great contemporary Chinese poet that I feel most jealous and sympathetic about. He’s created the atmosphere and realm that me and my generation want but failed to create. He is a genius who is ignored by us. In an epoch when pathologicalism is everywhere, Cai Gentan’s viewpoint that ‘normality is pathological, pathologicalism is normal’ reaches the hidden corner of human existence, and has great exploratory significance. Cai Gentan reminds me of Derek Walcott in his early days. They all grow and live on remote islands that are faraway from the mainstream of discourse, but they both have world-class poetic minds and visions and use words to quietly and acutely present human desires and predicaments.” — Ren Yihao (任意好)
Broken Uterus is also available in e-book format. To purchase the e-book edition, click here.
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