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Changtai Bi, born in Tianjin, China, is a poetry translator who is currently a university teacher.  He was responsible for the first draft of the English translation of Selected Poems of Yi Lei.

My Name Will Grow Wide Like A Tree

Graywolf Press
2021 Shortlist
United States

Judges’ Citation

One of shortest poems in My Name Will Grow Wide Like a Tree creates — in just five lines! — lasting theological perspective: ‘When life ends, / Memory endures.

One of shortest poems in My Name Will Grow Wide Like a Tree creates — in just five lines! — lasting theological perspective: ‘When life ends, / Memory endures. / When memory ends, / What persists /Attests to the spirit.’ Such larger-than-life–and yet also such delicate–approach distinguishes this  collection as it gathers poems of eros and grief, each page bursting with attentiveness to our world. ‘Each blade of grass is a glorious eye,’ Yi Lei writes, echoing, and also revising, Whitman. In very beautiful versions by Tracy K. Smith and Changtai Bi, Yi Lei’s voice here becomes invigorating, lasting poetry in English.