Book Discussion: Concentric Circles
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Concentric Circles By Yang Lian
Discussion Leader: TBA
From the publisher: Before and since his enforced exile, Yang Lian has been one of the most innovative and influential poets in China. Widely hailed in America and Europe as a highly individual voice in world literature, he has been translated into many languages. Yang Lian has written that Concentric Circles is ‘[my] most important piece since I came out from China’, and it is emphatically not a political work, but instead a work focused on ‘deep reality’ and the nature of how humans understand that reality through the medium of language.
The book, like the sections of which it is comprised, uses a kind of collage, where many small fragments, each complete, are aligned together in a series of patterns to form a grander mosaic: from line to line, poem to poem, cycle to cycle, in ever-widening concentric structures. Yang Lian regards this English version as an integral part of the work as a whole – indeed, it could be said that the work is incomplete without its English parallel, and that as he reads it, he is ‘struggling free from time and incorporated into the beautiful “concentric circles” of ancient and modern poetry, in China or elsewhere’.
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