Workshops & Activities

Yang Lian Poetry Workshop on Imagery in Chinese Poetry

Part of London Literature Festival

Delve into the power of the image in Chinese poetry from one of China’s most celebrated contemporary poets, Yang Lian.

From classical to contemporary, the image is at the centre of Chinese poetry and is both the structural architecture and the source of its deeper meaning.

Explore the beauty of this poetic tradition and the ways that single poetic image or a ‘Single Line Poem’ can reaffirm an individual identity and challenge existing power structures in an increasingly unstable world.

Yang Lian was one of the original Misty Poets who reacted against the strictures of the Cultural Revolution. Born in Switzerland, the son of a diplomat, he grew up in Beijing and began writing when he was sent to the countryside in the 1970s. On his return he joined the influential literary magazine Jintian (Today).

His work was criticised in China in 1983 and formally banned in 1989 when he organised memorial services for the dead of Tiananmen while in New Zealand. He was a Chinese poet in exile from 1989 to 1995, finally settling in London in 1997. Translations of his poetry include four collections with Bloodaxe – Where the Sea Stands Still (1999), Concentric Circles (2005), Lee Valley Poems (2009) and Narrative Poem (2017) – as well as his long poem Yi (Green Integer, USA, 2002) and Riding Pisces: Poems from Five Collections (Shearsman, 2008), a compilation of earlier work. He is co-editor with W.N. Herbert of Jade Ladder: Contemporary Chinese Poetry (Bloodaxe Books, 2012), and was awarded the International Nonino Prize in 2012. Both Where the Sea Stands Still and Narrative Poem are Poetry Book Society Recommended Translations.

Dates & times

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Royal Festival Hall
Level 3 Function Room, Level 3, Blue side, Royal Festival Hall

need to know

£80 bundle tickets are available when purchasing two workshops within the Poetry International weekend.