* 22.02.1955, Bern, Switzerland lives in: London, United Kingdom
Yang Lian (b. 1955 in Berne, Switzerland) spent his childhood in Peking as the son of Chinese diplomats. In 1974 he was sent into the countryside for 're-education by the peasants' and started writing while there. Three years later he was working as a programme director and editor with the state broadcaster. When he returned to Peking, Lian wrote for the underground literary journal 'Jintian' and published his first 'modernistic' poems in it.
In the course of extended travels in the subsequent years, he followed the traces of China's history and wrote his works, including the long poem 'Nuorilang', which was heavily criticised by the government in 1983 in its campaign 'against intellectual pollution'. Until the end of the 1980s, Yang worked on his to date most extensive poem cycle, Yi, which over 200 pages is structurally based on the “I Ching” Book of Changes.
'It is not poets who write poems, but the poems that write the poets,' Yang has written in one of his essays. In another, he writes, 'a poem is nothing other than the attempt to bo beyond the boundaries of language.' Yang's work draws the consequences of these convictions in an impressive way. The images his poems are at the same time clear and insoluble. Language's own dynamism and the poet's technical skill infuse each other. Current events, including political ones, and traditions, both Eastern and Western, are woven together. The dead of history are rescued from oblivion in Yang's poetry, partly to give warning and partly as ghosts.
As well as Europe, Yang travelled widely in Australia and New Zealand up to the end of the 1980s, and it was there that the news reached him of the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989. He has been living in exile ever since. His prizes include the 1999 Flaiano International Prize for Poetry in Italy. His works have been translated into more than twenty languages. Yang Lian is now a New Zealand citizen and lives in London.