Translations of Poems by Yang Lian

Mabel Lee


Biographical note on Yang Lian

Yang Lian grew up in Beijing and began to establish his credentials as a poet from 1979. His early collections in China include Ritualisation of the Soul (1985), Desolate Soul (1986), Yellow (1989) and his long poem Yi that was first published under the title Sun and Man (1991). His poetry began to appear in English translations by John Minford, Sean Golden and Alisa Joyce in the Hong Kong translation magazine Renditions (1983 and 1985). He travelled to Australia in 1988, and then to New Zealand in 1989. After the June 4 events in Tiananmen Square, Beijing, he sought and obtained New Zealand citizenship. In 1991 he relocated to London where he now lives. His poems, essays and criticism have been collected in Yang Lian’s Works, 1982–1997 (1998) in two volumes and amounting to over 1000 pages, and in Yang Lian’s New Works, 1998-2002 (2003). Yang Lian’s major collections in English include: Masks and Crocodile (1990), The Dead in Exile (1990) and Yi (2002), translated by Mabel Lee; Non-Person Singular (1996), Where the Sea Stands Still (1999), Notes of a Blissful Ghost (2002), Concentric Circles (2005), translated by Brian Holton; and Unreal City: A Chinese Poet in Auckland (2006), translated by Jacob Edmond and Hilary Chung. Selections of his poems have been translated in over thirty languages, and have enabled him to travel regularly to literary festivals all over the world. In 1999 he won the Flaiano International Prize for Poetry.

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