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At The Sky’s Edge: Poems 1991-1996

by Bei Dao

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The poems in [Forms of Distance] are distinctly alive. They do more than observe; they participate in the historical transformations they describe. In any language, this is poetry of a high order.

—Nate Johnson, Chicago Tribune

In his second retrospective volume of poetry translated into English, two of Bei Dao’s previous books––Forms of Distance (1994) and Landscape Over Zero (1996)––are gathered together in one bilingual edition. At the Sky’s Edge: Poems 1991-1996 marks a pivotal point in the poet’s development, presenting increasingly lyrical, meditative poems written in the years following his exile from China in 1989. Translated into twenty-five languages, Bei Dao’s work has long been appreciated internationally, but is just recently reaching a larger audience in the U.S. At the Sky’s Edge is Bei Dao’s seventh book published by New Directions, and presents the poems from Forms of Distance for the first time in a paperback edition. The translation by David Hinton, who was awarded the prestigious Harold Morton Landon Translation Award from the Academy of American Poets in 1997, captures both the musicality and density of the original Chinese. Quiet, spare, these are poems of paradox and possibility, of words carefully balanced, of a world on edge.

At The Sky’s Edge: Poems 1991-1996

Poetry by Bei Dao

published September 1st, 2001