Yang Lian



Two Translations of Yang Lian

Yang Lian (b. Bern, 1956) grew up in Beijing. Trained in classical poetry by his father from childhood, he wrote classical poetry until the late 1970s when for the first time he encountered Western poetry in translation. He decided to abandon the rigid forms prescribed for classical poetry, but informed by the great poets of China’s past the ‘new’ poetic forms he created continue to resonate with the tonal qualities of the Chinese language. He was amongst a group of young unpublished Beijing poets – Bei Dao, Mang Ke, Duo Duo and Gu Cheng – who circumvented the censors by publishing poetry in their own unregistered magazine called Today. The magazine was closed down after a couple of years of operation, but their poetry won the approval of established writers, academics, and critics, and formed the first ‘new wave’ of poetry to emerge after the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976).

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