Lee Valley Poems
Published by Bloodaxe Books
Lee Valley Poems is his first book to be wholly conceived and written in London, once his place of exile and now his permanent home. It includes an extended sequence, 'What Water Confirms', translated by Brian Holton and Agnes Hung-Chong Chan, and a suite of shorter poems translated by several poets, most of these working with Yang Lian: Polly Clark, Antony Dunn, Jacob Edmond, W.N. Herbert, Pascale Petit, Fiona Sampson and Arthur Sze.
The book's preface, 'A Wild Goose Speaks to Me', takes as its springboard Yang Lian's comment "There is no international, only different locals". With this perspective, the Lee Valley of his first London poems becomes the international inside the local: the poet may travel far but never really leaves the ground of his own inner self, and the value and joy of poetry is seen as fishing in the deep sea of existence.
"This hauntingly beautiful collection, with its Chinese classical sensibility wedded to modernist methods, is a remarkable addition to London's literature of exile."
Boyd Tonkin, The Independent
"Yang Lian is one of the most astonishing poets I've read for years. He has a westernist, modernist sensibility allied with an ancient Chinese, almost shamanistic one. He can both excite and frighten you ñ like MacDiarmid meets Rilke with Samurai sword drawn!"
W.N. Herbert, The Scotsman
"Yang Lian distinguishes himself in representing the pain of life caught in between historic erasÖ a new version of an old issue for world literature as well as Chinese literature is proposed: how to continue writing, relying on individual rather than enforced communal inspiration."
"It wouldn't surprise me if he became a future Nobel Laureate. His style is one of extraordinary grandeur and ambitionÖ a monumental drive, a sensuous strength and intellectual clarity."
David Morley, Stand