Press Release: 2 July 2008

How could an American Poet influence the work of a Chinese poet? Yang Lian Under the Influence of Ezra Pound
Wednesday 16 July 2008 at the Arts Theatre.

As part of the Poetry Society’s Under the Influence series, on Wednesday 16 July 2008, you can discover the impact American poet Ezra Pound had on the work of contemporary Chinese poet,Yang Lian.

Back in the 1980s China came out of the Cutural Revolution and experienced a new era of contemporary Chinese poetry. At this time, there was also a wave of translated work by western poets, among them Ezra Pound. For poet Yang Lian, reading Ezra Pound, was not only going to have a huge influence on his writing but also on his understanding of his own language.

Describing Pound as ‘sharp-eyed’ Yang will look at how Pound didn’t just pay attention to the ‘exotic surface’ of the Chinese language but it’s linguistic nature and the abstract feelings that lies behind it. For Yang this has given him a deeper understanding of the richness and musicality of his own language.

Yang Lian was one of the first groups of young ‘underground’ poets, who published the literary magazine Jintian. His poems became well known and influential inside and outside of China in the 1980s, especially when his poem ‘Norlang’ was criticized by the Chinese government during the ‘Anti-Spiritual Pollution’ movement. He became a poet in exile after the Tian’anmen massacre. Since that time,he has continued to write and speak out as a highly individual voice in world literature, politics and culture. His publications include Where the Sea Stands Still: New Poems, Yang Lian Zuo Pin 1982-1997 (2 vols) and Yang Lian Xin Zu, Yi, a book-length poem, Notes of a Blissful Ghost and Concentric Circles. His latest collection is Riding Pisces: Poems from five collections.

American poet, critic, and translator Ezra Pound was an extremely important influence in the shaping of 20th-century poetry.  He was one of the most famous and controversial literary figures of the century. No other twentieth century literary figure engaged as much with China as Pound. T S Eliot described him as the ‘inventor of Chinese poetry’.

The host for each event will be the Poetry Society’s Chair, Anne-Marie Fyfe.

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Notes to Editors

  • This event is part of the Poetry Society’s highly popular ‘Under the Influence’ series, where one poet looks at the influence another poet has had on their work.
  • All events are held in The Arts Theatre, 6/7 Great Newport Street, London, WC2H 7JB. Tickets are £10 (£7 Poetry Society members and concessions).
  • All events start at 7pm
  • This event is supporting CHINA NOW




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