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Overview

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. Yang Lian has written that Concentric Circles is ‘the most important piece since I came out from China’, and that it is emphatically not a political work, but instead a work focused on ‘deep reality’ and the nature of how humans understand that reality through the medium of language. The book, like the sections of which it is comprised, uses a kind of collage, where many small fragments, each complete in itself, are aligned together in a series of patterns to form a grander mosaic: from line to line, poem to poem, cycle to cycle, in ever-widening concentric structures. Yang Lian regards this English version as an integral part of the work as a whole – indeed, it could be said that the work is incomplete without its English parallel, and that as he reads it he is ‘struggling free from time and incorporated into the beautiful “concentric circles” of ancient and modern poetry, in China or elsewhere’.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781852247034
Publisher: Bloodaxe Books
Publication date: 01/25/2006
Pages: 111
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x (d)

About the Author

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 he joined the influential literary magazine Jintian (Today). His work was criticised in China in 1983 and formally banned in 1989 when he organised memorial services for the dead of Tiananmen while in New Zealand. He was a Chinese poet in exile from 1989 to 1995, finally settling in London in 1997. He now lives in Berlin. Translations of his poetry include four collections with Bloodaxe, Where the Sea Stands Still (1999), Concentric Circles (2005), Lee Valley Poems (2009) and Narrative Poem (forthcoming in 2017), as well as his long poem Yi (Green Integer, USA, 2002), Anniversary Snow (Shearsman, 2019), and Riding Pisces: Poems from Five Collections (Shearsman, 2008), a compilation of earlier work. He is co-editor with W.N. Herbert of Jade Ladder: Contemporary Chinese Poetry (Bloodaxe Books, 2012), and was awarded the International Nonino Prize in 2012. Both Where the Sea Stands Still and Narrative Poem are Poetry Book Society Recommended Translations.

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