Another Kind of Surrealism: Poetic Flare and Energies in Yang Zi’s Work

Yang Zi

Translator’s Note

Born in 1963 in a working-class family from Anhui Province, Yang Zi, a proclaimed contemporary Chinese poet, has authored a dozen books that include Border Fast Train (1994), Gray Eyes (2000), and Rouge (2007). Elder brother of Yang Jian — who is widely considered today as one of the most major living Chinese poets — Yang Zi spent nine years in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region after his university studies in Chinese literature. With Xu Zhuang and other friends, he co-founded an avant-garde literary journal, Big Bird. In 1990, he was appointed Vice Alderman of Tahaqi Village. Yang Zi’s writings are at times exulting and highly charged with emotions, other times elegiac… These years of travel, solitude, labor and seekings consolidated his interior and creative lives, all of which serve as rich materials for his poetic originality. Since 1993, he has lived in the southern coastal city, Guangzhou, and now works as the Associate Chief Editor of the Nanfang People Weekly. As a prolific poetry translator, he has also introduced the works of Osip Mandelshtam, Paul Celan, Fernando Pessoa, Gary Snyder, Charles Simic and other Western poets to Chinese readers.

A poet who believes in communicating clearly, Yang Zi’s writings are at times exulting and highly charged with emotions, other times elegiac or brooding. With a temperament firmly grounded in reality, he seeks not to write about some elusive Garden of Eden, but to respond explicitly to contemporary needs and social investigations. Incessantly probing into both objective and subjective truths, his poems carry a strong mix of lyrical voices and confessional tone.

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