Buy Zhao Lihong's Boat to Heaven


A Boat to Heaven
Southword Editions, 2010. Hardback.
Poems by Zhao Lihon, translations by Xu Qin

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"A Boat to Heaven represents a Shanghai poetic career that has stretched over forty years. The poet Zhao Lihong has worked quietly but determinedly for more than half a lifetime to create a body of work that makes the Chinese landscape sing. His is a very long-term conversation; he has listened for signals, not from the rhetoric of the present moment but from the movement of tectonic plates. His conversation is with the enduring centuries, with what is permanent in Chinese landscape, art and memory. There is a Yeatsean ambition in this perspective, and a ferocious political stubbornness in the silences. There are no County Galway tower houses here but the Asia-centred perspective of the great Bengali, and hero f Yeats, Rabindranath Tagore. History and landscape create a massive brickwork and this Chinese poet speaks to us from atop these battlements. Here is a poet of Shanghai who is part of the great circle of Tagore enthusiasts in Asia, organising lectures and conversations, participating in film projects. In structure, tone, assumptions and loyalties, Zhao Lhong stands confident with Tagore to face the West and speak."

--Thomas McCarthy from his introduction.



Poem from A Boat to Heaven


from Dreamland

My mother is lying on the bed, spitting blood
Her lips are a flower of red
Oh, Mother,
What would you like to say to me?
I am standing in the field
My shoulders are covered with snow
I want to walk towards you, Mother,
But my feet are frozen
Mother gazes at me, smiling
Her eyes are a flower blooming
She spits into the sky
Petals dancing and scattering
All over me
The snow on my body is melting
Taking me together
Into a river that is flowing
Across the river,
Red petals are whirling


Copyright ©2010 Zhao Lihong






Zhao Lihong in translation published by Southword Editions


Zhao Lihong, one of China’s most gifted poets and authors, was born in Shanghai in 1952. He started writing in 1970 and graduated in Chinese literature from the East
China Normal University. Zhao currently holds several positions, namely – director of
the China Writers Association, vice-president of the Shanghai Writers Association, the
publisher of Shanghai Literature a monthly magazine, and editor-in-chief of Shanghai
Poets a bi-monthly journal. He is also a guest professor with East China Normal University and Shanghai Jiao Tong University. So far, Zhao has published more than 70 works in poetry, prose and report literature. His writings have influenced many new writers and he has won several literary awards. A number of his works are part of the Chinese primary and secondary schools and college syllabus. His works have been translated into several foreign languages.



























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