Yang Lian

Yang Lian by Renate Von Mangolde.jpg

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Yang Lian was born in Switzerland in 1955, and grew up in Beijing. He was one of the founders of the ‘Misty’ school of contemporary Chinese poetry, and is particularly known for his poem sequences and long poems that display a profound understanding of, and creative links with, Classical Chinese poetry. He has published ten collections of poems, two collections of prose and one selection of essays in Chinese. He has 12 books available in English translation, notably Where the Sea Stands Still, which was the Poetry Book Society’s Recommended Translation of that year. He was also awarded the Flaiano International Poetry Prize in 1999.

He became a poet in exile after the Tiananmen massacre, and moved to London with his wife, YoYo. He has continued to write and speak out as a highly individual voice in world literature, politics and culture and was elected as a board member of International PEN in 2008.

Lian has been a writer in residence at many international institutions and has sat on the jury of the Lettre-Ulysses Award for the art of Reportage and the International Contest of Essays, as well as being President of the Jury of the 2008 Crystal Vilenica Award. He has been an advisor to PEN’s Free the Word International Literature Festival, the International Literature Festival of Berlin and Poetry International Taipei. Since 2005, he has been the artistic director of Unique Mother Tongue, a privately organized international seminar series based on London.

Lian is editor of the anthology Jade Ladder: Contemporary Chinese Poetry, due to be published by Bloodaxe Books in April 2012. Jade Ladder is described as 'the record of a revolution in Chinese poetry' in the years following the Cultural Revolution, examining the proliferations of new styles and genres.

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