Poetry Month 2016: Bei Dao
Mission The priest gets lost in prayer an air shaft leads to another era: escapees climb over the wall panting words evoke the author’s heart trouble breathe deep, deeper grab the locust tree roots that debate the north wind summer has arrived the treetop is an informer murmurs are a reddish sleep stung by a swarm of bees no, a storm readers one by one clamber onto the shore [From The Rose of Time: New and Selected Poems, translated by Eliot Weinberger and Iona Man-Cheong] ~ From the publisher’s Web site: The Rose of Time: New & Selected Poems presents a glowing selection of poetry by contemporary China’s most celebrated poet, Bei Dao. From his earliest work, Bei Dao developed a wholly original poetic language composed of mysterious and arresting images tuned to a distinctive musical key—a music that has continued to develop in innovative ways through five collections of poetry published by New Directions. Selections from each of these books are included here, as well as a section of new, never-before-published work. This bilingual edition opens with a prefatory note by the poet recalling his past life as a concrete mixer and blacksmith, and closes with a brief biographical note by the editor, Eliot Weinberger. Bei Dao is a seminal poet who has been translated into some thirty languages, and his public admirers have included such international writers as Mahmoud Darwish, Susan Sontag, and Tomas Tranströmer.