Presented in five thematic sections, this bilingual collection compiles Lan Lan's most characteristic work, showcasing her lyricism, austerity, luminosity, and moral sensibilities. Previous translations have appeared in the anthology Push Open the Window (Copper Canyon Press, 2010) and Another Kind of Nation: An Anthology of Contemporary Chinese Poetry (Talisman House, 2007).
From Short Lines:
Already too late. Before Iget lost.
I like this —
madness. The stillest.
You drag along your experience to love me, yet fear
using it to know me.
I'll be a way you reach for the world:
everything is different, so it's
Born in 1967, Lan Lan grew up in the Shandong countryside, where she recalls, "I went to a school where classrooms were cowsheds and the desks made from sun-dried mud brick. Right behind us were two cows among the peanut vines." At fourteen, Lan Lan published her first sequence of poems, "I Want to Sing," in a renowned literary journal. Today, she is the best-selling author of nine poetry titles and has earned a reputation as both a successful editor and a popular children's fiction writer whose work has been translated into ten languages. Awarded a string of prestigious literary prizes in China between 1996 and 2010, she garnered four of China's most important national literary prizes in 2009. Now living in Beijing, Lan Lan regularly cites as influences Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Franz Kafka, and William Blake, and revisits Chinese classical poetry, as well as Western contemporary writers such as Czeslaw Milosz, Wallace Stevens, Juan Ramon Jiménez, and René Char.