Yang Mu, a pivotal figure in the development of modern Chinese literature, is one of the most widely read living poets of the world’s largest literary audience: Chinese-speaking people. Providing a selection of poems from more than three decades of work, this book offers over one hundred translations that capture the poet’s haunting lyricism. Drawing on avant-garde traditions of Europe and the United States as well as on the traditions of classical Chinese poetry and prose, his work explores intense sensuality and the erotic, the anguish of war, exile, the colonial experience, and conflicting views of national and cultural identity.
Born Wang Ching-hsien in Taiwan in 1940, Yang Mu lived in a rich cultural and linguistic environment, learning Taiwanese, a Hua-lien tribal dialect, Japanese, Mandarin, and English. When he arrived in the United States in 1964, the young poet added Old English, ancient Greek, Latin, and German to his repertoire. Yang Mu’s poetry fully reflects this dazzling range and diversity. This volume also includes an essay placing the poet’s work in the context of twentieth-century literary movements and in the long tradition of Chinese poetry.