Born in 1967 in Yantai, Shandong province, Lan Lan is considered one of today’s most influential Chinese lyrical poets. She is the bestselling author of several poetry titles including Life with a Smile (1990), Inner Life (1997), Dream, Dream (2003) and From Here, to Here (2010). Also a prolific prose and children’s fiction writer, her work has been translated into ten languages. Awarded the Liu Li’an Poetry Prize in 1996, she was voted the top writer of the “Best Ten Women Poets” in China. In 2009, she received four of China’s highest literary honors: the “Poetry & People” Award, the Yulong Poetry Prize, the “Best Ten Poets in China” Award, and the Bing Xin Children’s Literature New Work Award. A regular guest at international poetry festivals, she lives in Beijing.Canyon in the Body is her first poetry collection in English.
Author of two books of poetry, My Funeral Gondola (Mānoa Books/El León, 2013) and Water the Moon (Marick, 2010), as well as several volumes of translation of contemporary Chinese, American and French poets, Fiona Sze-Lorrain co-edited the Mānoa anthologies, Sky Lanterns (2012) and On Freedom: Spirit, Art, and State (2013), both from the University of Hawai’i Press. She lives in France where she is an editor at Vif Éditions and Cerise Press.
Canyon in the Body, by Lan Lan
Canyon in the Body
from Chinese by Fiona Sze-Lorrain
ISBN 978-1-938890-01-7 (paper)
6 x 8
208 pages [Bilingual Chinese/English]
The tenderness of Lan Lan’s poetry is steely and perfectly judged. She shows us a world of subtle adjustments and intelligent beauty—although the stakes she deals in could not be higher. As its title suggests, Canyon in the Body uncovers both existential and domestic meanings, writ both large and small in the human environment. Fiona Sze-Lorrain’s limpid, unforced translations do the poet, and her Anglophone readers, a great service.
—Fiona Sampson, Editor of Poem and Professor of Poetry, Roehampton University
Lan Lan is discussing happiness with us. She cuts time, our faces, our dreams, our crystal gaze. So how does this happen: when we leave her, washed, new, mellow, happy that she conducted us, drowned us, left us hovering in this … what? nothing? Blessed be the day I discovered her writing.
Considered one of today’s most influential Chinese lyrical writers, Lan Lan emerged as a representative woman poet during the early nineties. A consistent presence in the mainland literary scene, her writing renews the need to address lyricism when the dominant cultural discourse favors phallocentrism and the privilege of human over non-human. Presented in five thematic sections, this bilingual collection compiles Lan Lan’s most characteristic work as it showcases her lyricism, austerity, luminosity, and moral sensibilities. Many of these poems have been anthologized in China and abroad. However, other than two translations in Push Open the Window (Copper Canyon Press, 2010) and a sampling in Another Kind of Nation: An Anthology of Contemporary Chinese Poetry (Talisman House, 2007), none of her poetry exists in English in a coherent entirety.
—from the Preface by Fiona Sze-Lorrain
Read a review at The Los Angeles Review.