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An Evening with Bei Dao

March 01, 2012 6:30 pm
DePaul University Loop Campus Bookstore

Words without Borders is pleased to present a reading by acclaimed Chinese poet Bei Dao, whose work has been translated into more than 30 languages, including 6 volumes in English. Bei Dao will be reading with his translator Eliot Weinberger.

Born in Beijing in 1949, Bei Dao is one of the most gifted writers in modern China. He became, in the 1970s, the poetic voice of his generation and has gained international acclaim over the last decades for his haunting interior poetic landscapes; his poetry is translated and published in some twenty-five languages around the world. In 1978, he co-founded the first unofficial literary journal since 1949, called Today (Jintian), which became a prominent forum for “Misty Poets,” a group derided by the Communist literary establishment for their “obscure” language and departure from socialist realism. Since 1987, Bei Dao has lived and taught in England, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, France, and the United States. His work has been translated into thirty languages, including six poetry volumes in English: The Rose of Time (2009), Unlock (2000), Landscape Over Zero (1996), Forms of Distance (1994), Old Snow (1992), The August Sleepwalker (1990), the collection of stories Waves (1990), the collections of essays Midnight’s Gate (2005), and Blue House (2000). He has won numerous awards, including the Jeanette Schocken Literary Prize from Bremerhaven, Germany (2005), the International Poetry Argana Award from the House of Poetry in Morocco (2002), and the Tucholsky Prize from Swedish PEN (1990). He is an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He lives and teaches in Hong Kong.

Elliot Weinberger is an essayist, political commentator, translator, and editor. His books of avant-gardist literary essays include Karmic Traces, An Elemental Thing (named by the Village Voice as one of the “20 Best Books of the Year”) and, most recently, Oranges & Peanuts for Sale. His political articles are collected in What I Heard About Iraq – called by the Guardian the one antiwar “classic” of the Iraq war– and What Happened Here: Bush Chronicles. The author of a study of Chinese poetry translation, 19 Ways of Looking at Wang Wei, he is the translator of the poetry of Bei Dao, and the editor of The New Directions Anthology of Classical Chinese Poetry and a forthcoming series from Chinese University Press of Hong Kong. His other anthologies include World Beat: International Poetry Now from New Directions and American Poetry Since 1950: Innovators & Outsiders. Among his translations of Latin American poetry and prose are the Collected Poems 1957-1987 of Octavio Paz, Vicente Huidbro’s Altazor, and Jorge Luis Borges’ Selected Non-Fictions, which received the National Book Critics Circle award for criticism. He was born in New York City, where he still lives. Often presented as a “post-national” writer, his work has been translated into thirty languages, and appears frequently in the New York Review of Books, the London Review of Books, and periodicals and newspapers abroad.

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This event was made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. An ASL interpreter will be made available upon request.