Poems by Bei Dao
Translated by Clayton Eshleman and Lucas Klein
Zhao Zhenkai was born on August 2, 1949 in Beijing. His pseudonym Bei Dao literally means "North Island," and was suggested by a friend as a reference to the poet's provenance from Northern China as well as his typical solitude.Dao was one of the foremost poets of the Misty School, and his early poems were a source of inspiration during the April Fifth Democracy Movement of 1976, a peaceful demonstration in Tiananmen Square. He has been in exile from his native China since the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989. His books of poetry include Unlock (2000); At the Sky's Edge: Poems 1991-1996 (1996), Landscape Over Zero (1995); Forms of Distance (1994); Old Snow (1991); and The August Sleepwalker (1990). His work has been translated into over 25 languages. He is also the author of short stories and essays. In 1978 he and colleague Mang Ke founded the underground literary magazine Jintian (Today), which ceased publication under police order. In 1990 the magazine was revived, and Bei Dao serves as the Editor-in-Chief. His awards and honors include the Aragana Poetry Prize from the International Festival of Poetry in Casablanca, Morocco, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He has been a candidate several times for the Nobel Prize in Literature, and was elected an honorary member of The American Academy of Arts and Letters. At the request of Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, he traveled to Palestine as part of a delegation for the International Parliament of Writers. Bei Dao was a Stanford Presidential lecturer and has taught at the University of California at Davis, the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, and Beloit College in Wisconsin. In 2006, Bei Dao was allowed to move back to China. Bei Dao is currently Professor of Humanities at the Chinese University in Hong Kong. In winter 2009 New Directions published his poetry collection, The Rose of Time: New & Selected Poems.
See Poets.org and Wikipedia for further information
See this link for Eshleman and Klein essay on Bookslut discussing Bei Dao
See this link for Eshleman and Klein discussing Bei Dao translation
This is a special edition by arrangement with New Direction Press, limited to 1200 copies.