Yang Lian

Yang Lian (c) privat

Yang Lian, born in 1955, was one of the so-called ‘Misty Poets’ who were actively involved in the Tian’anmen Square protests in 1989. For this involvement he was deprived of his Chinese citizenship. He has since lived in exile, since 2012 as a Fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg Berlin and in London. Yang Lian’s poetry connects with the philosophy of Lao Zi, the Yi Jing (Book of Changes) and with the tradition of politically engaged poetry which has been practised in China since the 8th century. In his texts, this awareness of the history of Chinese literature encounters modernistic imagery, thus creating a clear localisation in the space in between – a deliberate avowal of exile. Actuality, including of a political nature, and traditions, eastern as well as western, are woven together. Yang Lian is the Artistic Director of the London Unique Mother Tongue.project. Awards he has garnered include the International Capri Prize 2014 and the 2013 Tianduo Prize for Long Poems. His work has been translated into more than twenty languages.

Publications (a selection): Where the Sea Stands Still: New Poems by Yang Lian Translated by Brian Holton, Newcastle: Bloodaxe Books (1999); Non-Person Singular: Collected Shorter Poems of Yang Lian. Translated by Brian Holton, London: WellSweep Press (1994); Concentric Circles. Translated by Brian Holton and Agnes Hung-Chong Chan, Tarset: Bloodaxe Books, (2005); Notes of a Blissful Ghost. Translated by Brian Holton, Hong Kong: Renditions Paperbacks (2002); Unreal City (2006); Riding Pisces: Poems from Five Collections. Translated by Brian Holton, Exeter: Shearsman (2008)