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The Nine-Eyed Agate

Poems and Stories

Translated by Heather Stoddard - Jangbu

The Nine-Eyed Agate seeks to break stereotyped images of Tibet and Tibetans inside the PRC today, and in the diaspora, by presenting an outstanding personality who survived childhood during the Cultural Revolution, then going on to lead a rich and somewhat controversial career within the PRC. As a free-wheeling, restless traveller in samsara (the cycle of existence), Jangbu has explored every corner of the Tibetan plateau with a view to understanding the culture and history of his people, their plight, and the key issues that Tibet faces today. Widely read in world literature through Chinese translation he has traveled around the world, attending international poetry meetings and film festivals, taking part in university conferences and developing his passion for film. This rich diversity is reflected in his poems and prose, the subject matter ranging through eternal themes such as love and betrayal, fantasy and 'magical realism', mystical flight and biting social satire. His poetry is experimental, presenting a panorama of styles with examples in modern free-verse, classical Indo-Tibetan metrical poetics (though this is rare), and more characteristically, in the dense "obscure" poetry of the post-Cultural Revolution years in China (1980s onwards), for which Jangbu is particularly well known. His work is often semi-autobiographical, written in a "docu-fictional" mode, announcing Jangbu's growing fascination for the screen. « less more »
Lexington Books
Pages: 228
978-0-7391-2875-6 • Hardback • August 2010 • $90.00 • (£60.00) - Currently out of stock. Copies will arrive soon.
978-1-4616-6268-6 • eBook • August 2010 • $85.00 • (£54.95)
Heather Stoddard is a professor and head of Tibetan studies at the National Institute for Oriental Languages & Civilisations in Paris.
1 Preface
2 Acknowledgements
3 Introduction
4 "Destruction and Creation"
5 The Nine-Eyed Agate
Part 6 Part One: Selections from The Nine-Eyed Agate
7 Searching
8 The Poet
9 Lotus
10 Three Verses on the Eight-Petalled Lotus
11 How I See Things Today
12 Our Tomorrows
13 The Waterwheel
14 Question
15 The Other Face
16 Above & Below
17 Harm
18 Conscience Clearing
19 One Afternoon Oppressed by Pain
20 Can this Great Boat Carry Us to the Other Side?
21 The Uninvited Guest
22 Two Things Hard to Find
23 You All
24 But
25 The Whittling
26 Formless Blade
27 The Act
28 Lhasa
29 The Present
30 Agate—1
31 Agate—2
32 Three Animal Stories: The Lamb, The Pheasant and the Chicken, He Who Died in a Trap
33 Motes
34 My Tibet
35 An Idea of a Wife
36 Dream
37 All There Is
38 The High Place
39 Leftovers
40 One Day
41 The Woman Prisoner
42 The Owl
43 Joke
44 The Three: Sun, Moon, and Stars
45 Playing My Own Tune
46 Missive Offered to the City Municipality on Behalf of the People
47 Many Hands
48 Wine
49 Mother, I Am Afraid
50 Norbu, Beloved Jewel
51 One Flower
52 Agate—3
53 Agate—4
54 Agate—5
55 Agate—6
56 Agate—8
57 Agate—9
58 The Secret
59 Goddess
60 An Unbearable Spring
61 Each Person
62 Semarkar
63 My Dream
64 Peeling the Skin
65 Living Together
66 Reflections-Tongue in Cheek-on Poetry
67 Translator's Notes
Part 68 Part Two: Other Selected Poems
69 Jottings on the Prairie
70 A Day at the Races
71 Your Happiness Is Mine Too
72 The Leaves of a Maple Tree
73 Little Red Fox
74 The Thigh-Bone Trumpet Player
75 The City
76 When You Returned
77 Play on Body Grammar
78 Wife
79 Exhaustion
80 Practicing Sky Burial
81 Jangbu the (Silent) Smithy
82 Earring of the Night
83 One Kind of Worry
84 The Current: Meditation Cave, Sacrifice, The West
85 Appearance—Emptiness
86 10 x Me: Many True & Mocking Words about I Myself
87 Another Me
88 A Bunch of Images: White Foal, The River and the Bridge, Prince. Eagle.
89 Going Home
90 Listening to the Snow
91 "Ma la ya"—Praise to the Mother (Acrostic Poem)
92 Looking at Myself
93 Pigeon
94 The Path * Love
95 An Old Ruined Fort
96 The Reason Why the Wild Yak Died
97 The Third Eye
98 Thigh-Bone Trumpet
99 The World and Human Beings
100 You Can Set Me Alight
101 Melody: A Dirge To Döndrup Gyel (1952–1985)
102 Translator's Notes
Part 103 Part Three: Selected Stories
104 Darkness: Dream, For Real
105 Soul Born of a Scapula
106 The Tale of the Golden Fish
107 Lhasa Moon, Lhasa Dawa
108 The Lamp
109 A Prose Poem: The Bride of Speech
110 Fantasy
111 The Thing
112 Odd Boots
113 The Qinghai Tibetan News and Me
114 Translator's Notes
115 Appendix 1: Publication Credits
116 Appendix 2: Tibetan Spellings 185
"The Nine-Eyed Agate is a great illustration of the free style poetry that dominates the Tibetan literary scene today. The author, Chenagtsang Dorje Tsering, alias Jangbu, is one of the most celebrated and talented writers of his generation. His poetry and prose has been wonderfully rendered into English by Heather Stoddard, a leading expert in the field of Tibetan literature and history. The book is illustrated with Jangbu’s sketches which, in addition to the poet’s own preface and the translator’s introduction, add great value to this unique publication.”
Nicolas Tournadre, author of the Manual of Standard Tibetan

The Nine-Eyed Agate is a fascinating, inspiring collection of poems and short stories by Jangbu, one of the most original and creative voices on the Tibetan artistic and cultural scene today. In times when maps of Tibet are being drawn and redrawn in numerous ways by multiple actors, Jangbu opens a door to the intimate reaches of his Tibet and his Tibetan self, using radically contemporary language, expression and content. Remarkably translated by Heather Stoddard, this book is not only a must for everyone interested in modern Tibetan literature and culture; it should definitively be on the bookshelves of all those interested in poetry and art, or simply of anyone captivated by the countless marvelous possibilities of creation and recreation.
Lara Maconi, INALCO, Paris