Before and since his enforced exile, Yang Lian has been one of the most innovative and influential poets in China. Widely hailed in America and Europe as a highly individual voice in world literature, he has been translated into many languages. "Lee Valley Poems" is his first book to be wholly conceived and written in London, once his place of exile and now his permanent home. It includes an extended sequence, "When Water Confirms", translated by Brian Holton and Agnes Hung-Chong Chan, and a suite of shorter poems translated by several poets, most of these working with Yang Lian: Polly Clark, Antony Dunn, Jacob Edmond, W.N. Herbert, Pascale Petit, Fiona Sampson and Arthur Sze. The book's preface, A Wild Goose Speaks to me, takes as its springboard Yang Lian's comment 'There is no international, only different locals'. With this perspective, the Lee Valley of his first London poems becomes the international inside the local: the poet may travel far but never really leaves the ground of his own inner self, and the value and joy of poetry is seen as fishing in the deep sea of existence. This title is available in bilingual Chinese-English edition.
Yang Lian was one of the original Misty Poets who reacted against the strictures of the Cultural Revolution. Born in Switzerland, the son of a diplomat, he grew up in Beijing and began writing when he was sent to the countryside in the 1970s. On his return co-founded the influential literary magazine Jintian (Today - now published in exile in Scandinavia). His work was criticised in China in 1983 and formally banned in 1989. He has lived in exile since 1989, when he organised memorial services for the dead of Tiananmen while in New Zealand. After spells in Australia, Germany and the USA, he settled in London. Translations of his poetry include three collections with Bloodaxe, Where the Sea Stands Still (1999), a Poetry Book Society Recommended Translation, Concentric Circles (2005), and Lee Valley Poems (2009), as well as Riding Pisces: Poems from Five Collections (Shearman, 2008), a compilation of earlier work.
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