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R.P. BenDedek Book Review: "Walk Along with Nostalgia" By Ding Ding
By R.P. BenDedek
Apr 1, 2015 - 6:10:46 AM

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Because I am an Australian living and working in China, I requested "Walk Along with Nostalgia" By Ding Ding, precisely because it was written by a native Chinese person who now lives in Australia. The book is written in both Chinese and English. Although there is no information provided in the book in English, from the publicity material one learns that Ding Ding is old enough to have two Master Degrees, one of which is in translation. At the beginning of the book there is a preface in Chinese which indicates that her love of poetry commenced with her mother listening to Tang Dynasty poetry on the radio and her father who read his own poetry in public and at home.

Further down this page I have included the English version of one of the poems so that you can judge for yourself the style and content of the book. I'm not a poet and I know it, and while I enjoyed reading the various poems, as a person who has been teaching English in China for a very long time, I found some of the expressions to be 'typically Chinese.' For me they neither add to nor detract from the poetry, although various readers will make their own judgments.

In order to gain some perspective into the style of writing in Chinese, I showed various poems to my Chinese students and asked for their 'feelings.' Whilst some just 'didn't get it,' others really liked them. One student in particular informed me that one poem made her feel that the day was really sunny and everything was really good and happy. That was an interesting comment given that it was a rainy day.

One of my private students upon reading the Chinese version of "Similan" exclaimed: "Oh it is very beautiful!" but upon reading the English version said: "Is this the same poem?" Obviously there is a lot lost in translation.

Certainly the book would make an ideal gift for your Chinese friends, and the easy English read makes the book suitable to give to anyone who can read.

The title 'Walk along with nostalgia' is certainly appropriate when one understands the emotions expressed.

The book also contains a number of black and white photographs which add to its charm, although color photographs might have made it a little better. Then again, black and white suits the mood of the poetry.

It was an entertaining read.

Looking For Oasis
By Ding Ding

Like a camel
Keep the head high and proud
Even though carrying a heavy basket
Even though the storm is shouting
Even though the hot sun is burning
I will hide my tears
I believe one day I will walk to the oasis
And unload all the burdens
Keep the head high and proud
With confidence and smile
And look over the way on which I never give up

R.P. BenDedek

Ding Ding is a Chinese poet, freelance writer and translator. She has a master's degree in international studies from The University of Sydney and a master's degree in translation from The University of New South Wales. She enjoys traveling and running in her free time. She resides in Sydney, Australia.

"Walk Along with Nostalgia"
By Ding Ding
Balboa Press
Published 10/1/2014
ISBN 978-1-45252-549-5
202 pages
Softcover $15
E-book $4

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