A Boat to Heaven


A Boat to Heaven by Zhao Lihong
Translated by Xu Qin

Southword Editions, 2010, 64 pages (Hardback)
ISBN: 978-1905002-37-5

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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