Original by Ema Saikō
Translated, from the Japanese, by Benjamin Landauer
Responding in Rhyme to a Poem Sent by Hangaiken Sensei of Hirado,
which went: “Flourishes of relaxed ink wrapping around poetry and painting,
I come to know this is a Lady of the World of Letters”
By some mistake I’ve not married, and have no mother- or father-in-law,
fruitlessly dallying in writing and ink, running around with vagabonds.
Yet I’m ashamed that in this poem that comes from a thousand miles away,
I’m simply called a “Lady of the World of Letters.”
Original by Wu Zao
Translated, from the Chinese, by Benjamin Landauer
To the tune of “Silk-Washing River”
One scroll of Encountering Sorrow and one scroll of Buddhist scripture,
ten years of secrets, ten years of lamps—
a few sounds of Autumn rains on the plantain leaves.
I want to cry but no tears come out, so I just force a smile.
Grief is forbidden—nothing to be done!—so I learn to forget my feelings.
What’s really tripped me up is people telling me that I’m brilliant.
“Before the Mirror”
oil on canvas, 11 x 10 in, 2021
Ema Saikō 江馬細香 (1787-1861) was an accomplished poet and painter in Edo Japan. Her poetic works represent some of the finest examples of premodern Japanese kanshi poetry.
Wu Zao 吳藻 (1799-1862) was a renowned poet in Qing China. Her dramas and lyrics are particularly erudite examples of late Imperial Chinese literature.
Benjamin Landauer is working on their Ph.D. in Harvard University’s East Asian Languages and Civilizations department, studying Medieval and Contemporary Chinese and Japanese poetry, as well as East Asian media cultures. Benjamin holds a BA in Chinese Language and Literature from Reed College (2017), an MA in Chinese Literature from Nanjing University (2019), and an MA in Chinese Literature from Harvard University RSEA (2021). They enjoy reading and writing poetry, and spend their time between live concerts, libraries, and skateparks.
Martyna Benedyka is a contemporary visual and sound artist, photographer, soprano, and teacher working in a wide range of media including painting, film and digital photography, collage, installation, and video. She studied Art and Design at the Gray’s School of Art in Scotland, UK and graduated with a First Class BA (Hons) degree in Fine Art Painting in 2014. She has exhibited in the UK, Poland, Romania, Italy, Germany, Ireland, Czechia, Estonia, Switzerland, South Korea, Canada and the USA. She is the recipient of international scholarships as well as the winner of art and music competitions and residencies. Her work has been chosen by the Federation of British Artists for the Futures – UK’s largest annual survey of emerging contemporary figurative art at the Mall Galleries, London, among others. Recent projects include: Futures, Photo Romania Festival (winner 2022), Classix in Art (winner of the Classix Festival Music Grant 2022), DongGang International Photo Festival (winner 2022-23, South Korea), Internationales Digitalkunst Festival (winner 2022-23, Germany), or DeStructura cross-border project (winner 2022-23, Estonia). Her works are in public and private collections as well as featured in art and photography magazines. She is a member of Futures Photography, Amsterdam, NL (winner 2022). She specializes in classical music and has performed in many group and solo concerts internationally.