Fotopoulos on Poetry Anthology in Commemoration of Liu Xiaobo

As you probably know, Friday was the one-year anniversary of the death of jailed democracy activist and poet Liu Xiaobo 刘晓波, and last Tuesday his widow Liu Xia 刘霞 was released from her eight-year house arrest and has taken refuge in Germany (her release was due to the principled negotiation of German chancellor Angela Merkel).

To commemorate the anniversary of Liu Xiaobo’s death, on Friday China Channel published “Waves Against the Dawn,” Annetta Fotopoulos’s review of The Contemporary: A Poetry Anthology in Commemoration of Liu Xiaobo, edited by Meng Lang 孟浪. She writes:

The anthology was released in Taiwan and Hong Kong on February 1, 2018 under the backdrop of a series of highly publicized events in which Hong Kong publishers were harassed and kidnapped for publishing politically sensitive content. The publication of the anthology can thus be understood as a bold assertion of the right to free speech in a time and place where that right has been repeatedly challenged. Of the 191 poets whose works are collected in the volume, all but 19 chose to use their real names despite the personal risk to themselves and their families. These poets’ conspicuous acts of mourning for an officially dubbed “dissident” tried and jailed for the alleged crime of state subversion heralds a new wave of resolve among Chinese pro-democracy activists to carry forward with Liu Xiaobo’s cause of democratization and free speech in China.

Indeed, one of the recurring themes of the volume is an impatience with and resentment toward mincing words to avoid political stigmas and using analogies to circumvent the censors.

Click on the image above to read the full, in-depth review.

Poetry Anthology in Commemoration of Liu Xiaobo

https://i1.wp.com/u.osu.edu/mclc/files/2018/02/liu-xiaobo-vmc4b7.jpg?resize=584%2C393&ssl=1A Press Release on February 1st, 2018, by Independent Chinese PEN Center (ICPC)

As a literary tribute to Liu Xiaobo from worldwide Chinese poets and writers, a public release of A Poetry Anthology in Commemoration of Liu Xiaobo was launched on February 1st in Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Right before the opening of the 2018 Taipei International Book Exhibition on February 6, a new book entitled The Contemporary: A Poetry Anthology in Commemoration of Liu Xiaobo is publicly released in both Hong Kong and Taiwan by Waves Culture Media, an independent press in Hong Kong. The anthology has been triggered by an incident occurring in the summer of 2017 when Langzi (Wu Mingliang), a Guangzhou poet and member of ICPC, was arrested for his participation in an effort to comply a collection of poems to commemorate Liu Xiaobo, capturing the international attention to the human rights infringement in China.

On June 26, 2017, news came that Liu Xiaobo, the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former president of ICPC who had been detained for nearly nine years, was found in a critical condition for his late stage of liver cancer and was placed on medical parole in a hospital in Shenyang, China. The news extremely shocked the Chinese literature and poetry circles. A large number of poets, writers and public intellectuals wrote poems in the modern new poetic genres regarding what happened to Liu Xiaobo and his fate. Furthermore, writers and poets as well as the civil society were seized with astonishment at the incidents to follow after Liu Xiaobo was “deceased” and “sea buried” in less than twenty days. Heart-pounding poems in memory of Liu Xiaobo and mourning poems on July 13th, the night of Liu Xiaobo’s death, broke out like a tsunami to circulate wide and far on the internet, WeChat Friend Groups, WeChat Public Accounts and other internet spaces. Whereas many works were either deleted or blocked by the Chinese cyber censorship inside China shortly afterwards, the corresponding writing momentum was generated in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao, USA and Canada as well as Britain, France, Germany, Australia and other areas.

This Commemoration Poetry Anthology demonstrates a grand landscape of a literary action in the spirit of free writing, which is extremely unusual in the history of the contemporary literature as well as the history of civil movement both in China and abroad.  Poet Meng Lang, the Editor-in-Chief for the compilation of the Anthology, is one of the founders of Independent Chinese Pen Center. Almost 200 authors were included in its selection, among whom 20 are ICPC members.  The 424-paged anthology is a book of selection bearing sufficient weight to face the reality and the history, and stands out, more significantly, as a literary tribute to Liu Xiaobo contributed by the poets and writers representing the Chinese-speaking world, including both the senior and new ICPC members.

This anthology bears a unique significance since 70% of the authors are current residents in mainland China, with the rest of the authors residing in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao, Southeast Asia, North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, etc. Among the authors in mainland China, it is rare and precious to find Liu Xiaobo’s former classmates and alumni during his university years, the students that Liu Xiaobo taught during his teaching tenure, Liu Xiaobo’s colleagues and members during his tenure as the president of ICPC as well as those public intellectuals and dissidents who had fought their way for democracy in China along with Liu Xiaobo for the last three decades. Many authors are contemporary Chinese poets, well-known to the readers from Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, who rose to fame along with Liu Xiaobo as his peers of the same generation. Authors also include poets of younger generations who were born in 1980s and 1990s.

Click the image above for the full press release.

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Liao Yiwu, Meng Huang, Maria Rosen: Performance in Stockholm

Liao Yiwu 廖亦武 reading his poem “The Massacre”, Meng Huang 孟煌 reading his “Letter to Liu Xiaobo in Prison” and Maria Rosén singing the Swedish folksong “Ballad from Roknäs”, 19th March 2013, 9 pm, Sergels Torg, Stockholm, Sweden

[from Martin Winter]

A Worldwide Reading for Li Bifeng

Jade Ladder’s Poets

I’ve compiled a list of the poets whose work appears in English translation in Jade Ladder, the new anthology of contemporary Chinese poetry edited by Yang Lian 杨炼, W N Herbert, Brian Holton, and Qin Xiaoyu 秦晓宇. The anthology presents the work of poets by birth year, but the work is separated into sections–lyric poems, narrative poems, neo-classical poems, sequences, experimental poems, and long poems–so I’ve put together this alphabetical list of the poets represented. Poets in bold (23, by my count) are those not included in the recent Copper Canyon anthology, Push Open the Window (of whom 19 of the 49 are not included in JL; click here for that anthology’s table of contents). Also, since Jade Ladder is English-only, I’m not sure of every poet’s name in Chinese, and consequently have left some blank. If you know, or spot any other errors, let me know.

  1. Bai Hua 柏桦
  2. Bei Dao 北岛
  3. Chen Dongdong 陈东东
  4. Chen Xianfa 陈先发
  5. Duo Duo 多多
  6. Ge Mai 戈麦
  7. Gu Cheng 顾城
  8. Hai Zi 海子
  9. Han Bo韩博
  10. Hu Dong
  11. Hu Xudong 胡续冬
  12. Huang Canran 黄灿然
  13. Jiang Hao 蒋浩
  14. Jiang He 江河
  15. Jiang Tao 姜涛
  16. Liao Yiwu 廖亦
  17. Lü De’an 吕德安
  18. Ma Hua 马骅
  19. Mai Cheng
  20. Mang Ke 芒克
  21. Meng Lang 孟浪
  22. Ouyang Jianghe 欧阳江河
  23. Pan Wei
  24. Qin Xiaoyu 秦晓宇
  25. Qing Ping 清平
  26. Senzi 森子
  27. Shui Yin
  28. Song Lin 宋琳
  29. Song Wei
  30. Sun Lei
  31. Sun Wenbo 孙文波
  32. Wang Ao 王敖
  33. Wang Xiaoni 王小妮
  34. Xi Chuan 西川
  35. Xiao Kaiyu 肖开愚
  36. Ya Shi
  37. Yan Li
  38. Yang Lian 杨炼
  39. Yang Xiaobin 杨小
  40. Yang Zheng
  41. Yi Sha 伊沙
  42. Yu Jian 于坚
  43. Yu Nu 余怒
  44. Zang Di 臧棣
  45. Zhai Yongming 翟永明
  46. Zhang Danyi
  47. Zhang Dian
  48. Zhang Shuguang 张曙光
  49. Zhang Zao 张枣
  50. Zhong Ming
  51. Zhou Lunyou
  52. Zhu Zhu 朱朱
  53. Zou Jingzhi