Yin/Yang vs. Water/Fire: Lesson One in Chinese Characters

Yuan Changming

Fire-Setting as in California灶 /zào/: an oven is built by setting a fire beside a pile of earth灿 /càn/: splendid is the view of a fire sweeping over a mountain烟 /yān/: smoke originates as a cause flickering like a spark烦 /fán/: frustration occurs when a fire burns a page烧 /shāo/: to burn something is to set a fire high on it炒 /chǎo/: to fry is to use little fire烙 /lào/: to iron is to burn each and every spot炉 /lú/: a stove is the fire burning in a household炮 /pào/: a cannon is a fire wrapped tightWater-Filled as in the Yangtze Valley沙 /shā/: sand is something holding little water河 /hé/: a river has water allowing everything possible洗 /xǐ/: to wash is to put something into water first波 /bō/: waves surge when water flows like skin注 /zhù/: to focus is to be the master of water源 /yuán/: a wellspring is the original water泪 /lèi/: tears are water seeping from the eyes洒 /sǎ/: to spread is to throw water into the west演 /yǎn/: a performance is a show in respect for water酒 /jiǔ/: wine is water fully matured

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Headshot of Yuan Changming

Yuan Changming grew up in a remote village, started to learn the English alphabet in Shanghai at age nineteen, and published monographs on translation before leaving China. With a Canadian PhD in English, Yuan edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Yuan in Vancouver. Credits include twelve Pushcart nominations & chapbooks (most recently Limerence) besides appearances in Best of the Best Canadian Poetry (2008-17) & BestNewPoemsOnline, among others across forty-eight countries. Yuan was nominated and served on the jury for Canada’s National Magazine Award (poetry category). Currently, Yuan is working on his hybrid or cross-cultural novel Edening.

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Victoria, British Columbia

University of Victoria

Iain Higgins

Managing Editor
L'Amour Lisik

The Malahat Review, established in 1967, is among Canada’s leading literary journals. Published quarterly, it features contemporary Canadian and international works of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction as well as reviews of recently published Canadian poetry, fiction, and literary nonfiction.

The Malahat Review is dedicated to excellence in writing. Its aim is to discover the most promising of the new writers and publish their work alongside the best established writers, to present work accurately and attractively to readers, and to increase awareness of Canadian writing in general through perceptive critical comment.

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