Two Lines 17: Some Kind of Beautiful Signal
Gold is only ore beneath russet earth
Unearthed becomes the ornament of a crown
If a scholar doesn’t impart his knowledge
His wisdom, hidden for years, sheds no light.
—from “On Knowledge” by Yusef Hajib Balasaghuni & Ahmad Yuknaki, translated from the Uyghur by Dolkun Kamberi & Jeffrey Yang
Some kind of beautiful signal: that’s what each of these stories sends us. When we read in translation, those signals may come from far away, but they are strong and insistent. —NATASHA WIMMER
The center of poetry in this edition of Two Lines is Uyghurstan (also called Eastern Turkestan), itself the center of Asia, a region that has been politically called Xinjiang (“new territory”) since its forced annexations by Russia and China in the nineteenth century. […] The Uyghurs are an ancient people […and…] the earliest example of writing in any Turkic language—the uniform text telling the story of Turkic reconstruction after many years of Chinese subjugation. […] We hope to share a little of the depth and diversity of Uyghur poetry, writing that is evidence of a vibrant, evolving culture and civilization. —JEFFREY YANG