John A. Crespi | Colgate University - Faculty Directory

Colgate Directory

John Crespi

John Crespi

Luce Associate Professor of Chinese and Asian Studies
EALL, 9C Lawrence Hall
p 315-228-7092


BA Brown University 1986; MA, PhD University of Chicago 1993, 2001

Teaching Experience

Part-time lecturer, Department of History, Valparaiso University, 2000-01; visiting assistant professor Chinese, Swarthmore College, 2001-02


Chinese modern and contemporary poetry
Republican- and Socialist-era Chinese cartoons
Chinese literature and film
Literary translation


Bluegrass/folk guitar, harmonica, ocarina, tin whistle, gardening


Bluegrass/folk guitar, harmonica, gardening, amateur video



Sensation and Satire: A Magazine History of China's Manhua, 1918-1960. In progress.

Voices in Revolution: Poetry and the Auditory Imagination in Modern China. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2009.

Online Publications/Digital Scholarship

“Picturing the Purge: Chinese Cartoon Imagery from the 1930s to the 1950s.” Online lecture posted by MITVideo. (Based on April 25, 2012 lecture at MIT). 2012.

“China’s Modern Sketch: The Golden Era of Cartoon Art, 1934-1937,” Visualizing Cultures website, MIT. ( Includes three-chapter illustrated essay (~12,000 words), nine visual narratives, and image gallery linked to Case Library Special Collections online digital archive of Modern Sketch (Shidai manhua).

"An Interview with John Crespi on Performance Poetry in China, with a Sampling of Live Recordings." By Zona Yi-Ping Tsou. Full Tilt, A Journal of East-Asian Poetry, Translation, and the Arts, no. 2 (summer 2007). Invited submission.

"The Poetry of Slogans and Native Sons Observations on the First China Poetry Festival." Modern Chinese Literature and Culture Resource Center. November 2005. 


"A Chinese Poet's Wartime Dream." In Harvard New Literary History of Modern China, ed. David Der-wei Wang. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Submitted and under review."

"Beyond Satire: The Pictorial Imagination of Zhang Guangyu’s 1945 Journey to the West in Cartoons." Oxford Handbook on Modern Chinese Literatures, ed. Carlos Rojas and Andrea Bachner. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Forthcoming spring 2016.

“Living Beijing: Encountering the Asian City through Digital Storytelling.” ASIANetwork Exchange: A Journal for Asian Studies in the Liberal Arts 18, no. 2 (Spring 2011): 62-78. Related downloads: 1) Qingming Scroll (pdf, 27mb); 2) "Living Beijing" syllabus

《一个汉学家看中国当代诗歌中什么有意义》(What matters in contemporary Chinese poetry: the view of one sinologist). Translated by Zhao Fan. Dangdai shi (Contemporary poetry). No. 2 (June 2011): 139-148.

“The Treasure-seekers: Poetry of Social Function in a Beijing Recitation Club.” Modern Chinese Literature and Culture. Vol. 22, no. 2. Fall 2010.

"Poetic Memory: Recalling the Cultural Revolution in the Poetry of Yu Jian and Sun Wenbo." In Christopher Lupke, ed. New Perspectives on Contemporary Chinese Poetry. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2007, pp. 165-183.

《从运动到活动:诗歌朗诵在当前中国的价值》 (From Yundong to Huodong: The Value of Poetry Recitation in Today's China). Trans. Wu Hongyi. 《新诗评论》 (New poetry review). No. 6. November 2007, pp. 3-19.

"Calculated Passions: The Lyric and the Theatric in Mao-era Poetry Recitation." Modern Chinese Literature and Culture. Vol. 13, no. 2. Fall 2001, pp. 72-110.

Encyclopedia, dictionary, and other reference work entries

"Bai Hua." In Encyclopedia of Modern China.  David Pong, ed.  New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons. Published August 2009.

"Jiang Guangci." In Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 328: Chinese Fiction Writers, 1900-1949, Thomas Moran, ed. Detroit: Thomson Gale, 2007, pp. 66-72.

"Form and Reform: New Poetry and the Crescent Moon Society." In The Columbia Companion to Modern East Asian Literature. Joshua Mostow ed. New York: Columbia UP, 2003, pp. 364-370.


“Traveling Poetry and the Presence of Soul: An Interview with Wang Jiaxin,” Chinese Literature in Translation (Summer/Fall 2011): 78-82; with five poems (“In Upstate New York,” “First Snow,” etc.), co-translated with John Cavanagh (Colgate Class of 2008): 83-85.


Chen Fangming, “Preface,” and “Grassroots Manifesto”; Huan Fu, “The Evolution of Taiwan’s Modernist Poetry” and “Poetry Snippets: A Digression on the “Highbrow’”; Lin Hengtai, “A Message from the Editors.” In The Columbia Sourcebook of Literary Taiwan. Edited by Yvonne Song-Sheng Chang, Michelle Yeh, and Ming-ju Fan. New York: Columbia University Press, 2014.

Three poems by Yan Wo: “The Gift of Another Big Bowl,” “To My Husband, Mai Xiaoke,”  and “Is It Love that Makes Me Sad.” In NEA-funded anthology, Push Open the Window: Contemporary Poetry from China. Qingping Wang, ed. Translation co-editors, Howard Goldblatt and Sylvia Li-Chun Li. Copper Canyon Press. Forthcoming 2011.

Duo Duo, Snow Plain. Translated by John A. Crespi (with contributions from Harriet Evans, Jiang Hong, Gregory B. Lee, Larry McCaffery and Danny Wang). Brookline, MA: Zephyr Press, 2010. 110pgs.

"Pastoral" (Tianyuan shi), "Simple Autobiography" (Jiandande zizhuan), "The Last Days of Octavio Paz" (Wanniande Pasi), "A Darkening Mirror" (Bianande jingzi), Wang Jiaxin. Co-translated with George O'Connell and Diana Shi. Atlanta Review China issue (spring/summer 2008), pp. 43-47.

"Two poems by Yu Jian, 'fat man with a kind face' and 'crows in black robes...'." basalt vol. 2, no. 1 (Spring 2007), p. 29.

"Pastoral" (Tianyuan shi), Wang Jiaxin. Co-translated with George O'Connell and Diana Shi. Circumference vol. 3 no. 1 (autumn/winter 2006-2007), pp. 48-49. Invited submission.

"The Afternoon Call" (Wuhou dianhua), Hao Yu-hsiang. Taiwan Literature in Translation, 12 (December 2002), pp. 109-114. Invited submission.

"The Wasteland." Wang Shuo. Time magazine (Asia edition) (11 Nov. 2002); it is online here.  Invited submission.

"The Miraculous Antler Tree" (Lujiao shenmu), Cheng Ch'ing-wen. Taiwan Literature: English Translation Series 10 (December 2001), pp. 25-28. Invited submission.

"Seven Strange Brothers" (Guai xiongdi), Chiang Hsiao-mei. Taiwan Literature: English Translation Series 9, (June 2001), pp. 15-19. Invited submission.

"Mount Morrison Journeys" (Yushan laiqu), Chen Lie. Taiwan Literature: English Translation Series 7 (June 2000), pp. 91-101. Invited submission.

"Sea Sleeve, Mustard Grass, Butterfly Orchid" (Huazhi, mocao, hudielan), Zheng Qingwen (Cheng Ch'ing-wen). Taiwan Literature: English Translation Series 6 (December 2000), pp. 13-27. Invited submission.

"Vacation." Duoduo. Abandoned Wine: Chinese Writing Today, 2. Henry Y. H. Zhao and John Cayley ed. London: Wellsweep, 1996, pp. 271-282. Invited submission.

"The Day I Got to Xi'an." Duoduo. Chairman Mao Would Not Be Amused: Fiction from Today's China. Howard Goldblatt ed. New York: Grove Press, 1995, pp. 99-111. Invited submission.

Book Reviews

Christopher Rea. The Age of Irreverence: A New History of Laughter in China. University of California Press, 2015. Frontiers of Literary Study in China. Forthcoming.

Yunxiang Gao. Sporting Gender: Women Athletes and Celebrity-Making During China’s National Crisis, 1931-1945. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2014. American Journal of Chinese Studies vol. 21, no. 2: 249-250.

Paul Manfredi, Modern Poetry in China: A Visual-Verbal Dynamic. Amherst, NY: Cambria Press, 2014. C.L.E.A.R.(Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews) no. 36 (2014): 10-12.

Perry Link, An Anatomy of Chinese: Rhythm, Metaphor, Politics. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2013. Journal of Asian Studies vol. 74, no. 1 (February 2015): 200-202.

Nicholas Kaldis, The Chinese Prose Poem: A Study of Lu Xun’s Wild Grass (Yecao). Amherst, NY: Cambria Press, 2014. MCLC Resource Center (2015).

Maghiel van Crevel, Chinese Poetry in Times of Mind, Mayhem, and MoneyInternational Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) Newsletter, no. 50 (Spring 2009): 33.

Charles Laughlin, Chinese Reportage: The Aesthetics of Historical Experience. C.L.E.A.R.(Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews), no. 27. 2005, pp. 171-173.

Graham Russell Gao Hodges, Anna May Wong: From Laundryman's Daughter to Hollywood Legend. Colgate Scene, March 2004, p. 14.

Zhang Xudong, ed., Whither China? Intellectual Politics in Contemporary China. Journal of Asian Studies, vol. 62, no. 1 (February 2003), pp. 263-264.

Professional Experience

Translator, Pristine Communications 1989-92