At the Sky's Edge: Poems, 1991-1996

At the Sky's Edge: Poems, 1991-1996

by Bei Dao, Michael Palmer, David Hinton
     
 

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At the Sky's Edge combines in a single bilingual paperback volume two essential works by one of the world's finest contemporary poets. In his first retrospective volume of poetry in English, two of Bei Dao's previous books—Forms of Distance (1994) and Landscape Over Zero (1996)—are gathered together in one bilingual paperback edition.

Overview

At the Sky's Edge combines in a single bilingual paperback volume two essential works by one of the world's finest contemporary poets. In his first retrospective volume of poetry in English, two of Bei Dao's previous books—Forms of Distance (1994) and Landscape Over Zero (1996)—are gathered together in one bilingual paperback edition. At The Sky's Edge: Poems 1991-1996 marks a pivotal point in the poet's oeuvre, presenting the increasingly lyrical, meditative poems written in the years following his banishment from China in 1989. Translated into twenty-five languages, Bei Dao's work has long been appreciated internationally, but is just recently gaining a larger audience in the US. At The Sky's Edge becomes Bei Dao's seventh book published by New Directions and is the first time Forms of Distance appears in a paperback edition. The translations of David Hinton, who was awarded the prestigious Harold Morton Landon Translation Award from The Academy of American Poets in 1997, capture both the musicality and density of the original Chinese. Quiet, spare, these are poems of paradox and possibility, of words carefully balanced, of a world on edge.

Author Biography: Bei Dao's most recent books are Unlock (New Directions), and a collection of essays, Blue House (Zephyr Press).

Editorial Reviews

Nate Johnson
The poems [in Forms of Distance] are distinctly alive. ... In any language, this is poetry of a high order. —Chicago Tribune

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780811214957
Publisher:
New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publication date:
09/28/2001
Edition description:
Bilingual
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.50(d)

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt



Chapter One


    YEAR'S END


from the year's beginning to its end
I've walked through countless years
time bending as a bow
shoes of those who've retired scattered
dust of the private
litter of the public

it's been a perfectly normal year
my sledgehammer sits idle, and yet
borrowing the light of the future
I glimpse that metric standard in platinum
here on the anvil


    ABSENT


vast winds commanding hostile flags
Venus fills all four directions with its lone cry
love and hate bit into the same apple
and now it's the age for climbing ladders
it's the pipe-dream of national renaissance
heroes occupying night skies raise their arms high
clowns in a mirror doing bandstands on asphalt

I close the door parole proffers
refuse all those witnesses to the future
these moments are mine to savor dignity in solitude
fire of the venture
ash of the unfamiliar


    BRASS OF A SUMMER'S DAY


lone son born of rumor
sits atop flower wreaths of contraception:
hearing brass of a summer's day

soldiers on the march
come along streets of rust:
watching brass of a summer's day

deep ax cuts on trees
smile fascinated forever:
eating brass of a summer's day


    MIDNIGHTSINGER


a song
is a thief who's fled across rooftops
getting away with six colors
and leaving the red hour-hand
on 4 o'clock heaven
4 o'clock detonates
in the rooster's head
and it's 4 o'clock delirium

a song
is an ever hostile tree
beyond the border
it unleashes that promise
that wolf-pack feeding on tomorrow

a song
is a mirror that knows the body by heart
is the emperor of memory
is the flame spoken by
waxen tongues
is the flower garden nurtured by myth
is a steam locomotive
bursting into the church

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