Letter from Poetry Magazine

Letter to the Editor

by Afaa Michael Weaver
Dear Editor,

I have read the exchange of letters between Joseph Bednarik and Marilyn Chin with some sadness. It is a painful thing to have happen at a time when communication around the project of translating from Asian languages needs all the openness and good-hearted exchange it can inspire. Copper Canyon has a rich legacy, and I have faith that proper redress will be made to Chin for what I hope was a moment of glibness that went a little too far.

I find Chin’s translations not only immensely readable but informative as well. Her translator’s note is impassioned and evidence of someone with a string of credentials, for sure, but, more importantly, also a vested interest in the life of poets doing battle with patriarchy.

My hat is off to the editors of Poetry for giving space to such a difficult exchange.

Somerville, Massachusetts

Originally Published: October 23, 2008

Poetry is looking for thought-provoking responses to work published in the magazine, as well as letters that raise new questions about the state of contemporary poetry. To send us your letter, please fill out all the fields below.

If we choose to use your letter, we will notify you by phone. If you have not heard from us within two weeks of sending your letter, you may assume we will not be using it. All letters may be edited for length and clarity, and may appear online, in print, or both.

Please do NOT send poetry submissions to this account. See Submission Guidelines for further information and policies regarding poetry submissions.


* All fields are required


This prose originally appeared in the September 2008 issue of Poetry magazine

September 2008


 Afaa Michael  Weaver


Afaa Michael Weaver (蔚雅風 in Chinese, and previously Michael S. Weaver) was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, where he attended public schools. After two years of study at the University of Maryland-College Park, he later earned his BA at Regents College-University of the State of New York (now Excelsior College) and completed graduate work in creative writing at Brown University, where his focus was playwriting and . . .

Continue reading this biography

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.