Born in Anhui Province in 1967, Yang Jian worked as a factory laborer for thirteen years. A practising Buddhist and scholar of Chinese traditional culture, he began writing poetry during the mid-’80s. Laureate of the first Yiu Li’an Poetry Award (1995), the ninth Rougang Poetry Award (2000), the first Yulong Poetry Award (2006), and the prestigious Chinese Media Literature Award (2008), his books of poetry include Dusk (2003), which was rated as one of the ten best books of the year, Old Bridge (2007), and Remorse (2009). Yang Jian also paints with ink and brush. He now lives in Ma’anshan, Anhui.
Yang Zi (1963- ), an acclaimed contemporary Chinese poet, is the author of a dozen books including Border Fast Train (1994), Gray Eyes (2000), and Rouge (2007). After his university studies in Chinese literature, he lived in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region for nine years and co-founded the literary journal Big Bird. In 1990, he was appointed Vice Alderman of Tahaqi Village. Since 1993, he has lived in the southern coastal city Guangzhou and now works as the Associate Chief Editor of the Nanfang People Weekly. Also known as a poetry translator, he has introduced the works of Osip Mandelstam, Paul Celan, Fernando Pessoa, Gary Snyder, Charles Simic, and other Western poets to Chinese readers.
Additional translations of Bei Dao’s poetry by Clayton Eshleman and Lucas Klein may be found in Bookslut (September 2009); Jacket (Issue 38); and Jerome Rothenberg’s Poems and Poetics blog (October 2, 2009). A set also will appear in a forthcoming issue of New American Writing.
All of the poems have been translated and published with the permission of the author.
Earlier translations of the four poems presented here appear in Landscape Over Zero (New Directions, 1996; translated by David Hinton and Yanbing Chen).
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