As part of the ASM/Flying Islands/Cerberus series of bilingual Pocket books, the poems and prose poems in The Party of Life explore love, death, family, gender, sexuality, class and belonging. They were selected and translated into Mandarin by Ruby Chen, with additional translations by Iris Fan.
“These are beautiful poems. I got goosebumps while translating some of them. They are all hauntingly beautiful. Some of my favourites are ‘When you Hold Me (The Bra Monologues)’, ‘ Forgetting’, ‘Eve in the Garden’, ‘The Party of Life’ and ‘Love Poem’. I remember not being able to move when I came to the last line of ‘the Bra Monologues’. I don’t know why; I was strangely touched. They say once an author finishes a piece of work, the work no longer belongs to her, because then the work is open to interpretation by the readers. Some interpretation may be the same as intended by the author, while some may be not, but what’s interesting about a good poem is that it will touch your heart, no matter how you interpret it.”
— Ruby Chen (translator)
“The Party of Life is a big book disguised as a little book. It is the Tardis of books…Highly portable, richly evocative, impeccably observed and moving… There’s something lovely about bilingual texts… like this one which to me is visually beautiful, full of promise and of the questions of what is possible to carry over from one vernacular to another.”
— Bernard Cohen
‘Seen through the glass of a display case, a caravan window, a train window, or even you would think, through Beth’s glasses… here’s a lived and remembered life, unreservedly felt, but it’s felt through art. As Beckett didn’t say “Ever tried. Ever felt. No matter. Try Again. Feel again. Feel better.” So when, at the start of “The Museum of Fire” she quotes Peter Tyndall “A person looks at work of art / Someone looks at something” it is an “aha” moment that lasts the whole book through because, like Tyndall, Beth’s statement is always true, always the same, and yet infinitely variable.’ – Peter Kenneally
About the Poet - Beth Spencer
Beth Spencer’s books include Vagabondage (UWAP), How to Conceive of a Girl (Random House) and most recently, Never Too Late (PressPress). She writes fiction, poetry, essays and writing for radio and performance. She has won a number of awards, including the Carmel Bird Digital Literary Award in 2018 for her short fiction collection The Age of Fibs, now a Spineless Wonders ebook. She lives on the Central Coast NSW. www.bethspencer.com