Liu Xiaobo is a political activist, literary critic, and writer. He was awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize for his "long and nonviolent struggle for fundamental human rights in China."
Jeffrey Yang (translator)
Jeffrey Yang is a poet, translator, and editor. He is the author of two poetry collections, An Aquarium and Vanishing-Line, and the translator of Su Shi's East Slope.
The first publication of poetry by the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Liu Xiaobo, translated from the Chinese by Jeffrey Yang and with a foreword written by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Liu Xiaobo has become the foremost symbol of the struggle for human rights in China. He was a leading activist during the Tiananmen Square protests of June 4, 1989, and an author of Charter 08, the manifesto of fundamental human rights published in 2008. In 2009, Liu was imprisoned for “inciting subversion of state power.” He was awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize for “his prolonged non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China.” June Fourth Elegies presents Liu’s poems written in memory of fellow protestors at Tiananmen Square. In this bilingual volume, Liu’s poetry is for the first time published freely in both English translation and in the Chinese original.
“Each spring—whether incarcerated or ‘at home in Beijing’—Xiaobo wrote a poem to commemorate the Tiananmen victims. Those raw, yet reflective, sometimes nightmarish elegies make up the bulk of this bilingual edition, put into clear English by the poet Yang, whose extraordinarily useful afterword puts Xiaobo’s sharp and sometimes allusive lines into both Chinese literary and historical context.”
—Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Characterized by passion, sorrow, guilt, and anger against the ongoing repression masked by China’s rhetoric of democratization and economic growth (‘Life’s little comforts have pardoned the crimes’), the poems are emotionally direct and unadorned. They are cries from the heart of despair, and their imagery (helmets, handcuffs, bayonets, tanks, blood) is stark, derived from the events of [Tiananmen Square]. . . . They remind us that poetry remains a dangerous practice in some parts of the world, and that although poets may be silenced, their poems will still be heard."
—Library Journal, starred review