Bei Dao

City Gate, Open Up

Nonfiction by Bei Dao

Translated from the Chinese by Jeffrey Yang

More Information

The Rose Of Time

Poetry by Bei Dao

Translated from the Chinese by David Hinton Bonnie S. MacDougall Eliot Weinberger

Edited by Eliot Weinberger

More Information

Midnight’s Gate

Poetry by Bei Dao

Translated by Christopher Mattison

Edited by Bei Dao

More Information

At The Sky’s Edge: Poems 1991-1996

Poetry by Bei Dao

More Information

Unlock

Poetry by Bei Dao

Translated by Eliot Weinberger

More Information

Landscape Over Zero

Poetry by Bei Dao

More Information

Forms Of Distance

Poetry by Bei Dao

Translated by David Hinton

More Information

Old Snow

Poetry by Bei Dao

More Information

Waves

Poetry by Bei Dao

More Information

The August Sleepwalker

Poetry by Bei Dao

More Information

Winter white cabbage, vinyl records, pet rabbits, banned books, and first and last “I love yous” provide intimate glimpses that “open up” to reveal extraordinary, immediate testimony of challenges survived in a life intensely lived.

—Terry Hong, Booklist

City Gate, Open Up is an ocean of recollections. Bei Dao’s impressionistic account of his childhood and youth in Beijing, is unlike any book he has ever written.

—Ratik Asokan, Caravan Magazine

What a fine book! Funny, astute, touching, subtle, personal, widely human.

A nuanced account of China in the era of the Cultural Revolution, seen through one young man’s eyes. Since that young man became a poet, it is also beautifully textured, full of the sounds, sights, and scents of a Beijing that is no more.

Publisher’s Weekly

City Gate, Open Up holds a vertiginous, intimate kaleidoscope of vignettes and portraits, in which a changing city, family, community, and country are presented as quick life-drawings, sketched from within. The drama of famine becomes a few candies in the mouths of half-starved boys scouring fields for weeds; the Cultural Revolution, an attic-hidden library of pre-war movie magazines, anatomy, and fiction carried into a hutong courtyard’s fire for burning. Soon after, the author builds a traveling bookcase backpack, holding only the works of Mao. One local official’s suicide abuts his successor’s ferocious skill at ping pong; a son discovers, as inner cultural inheritance, his father’s “little tyrant,” then struggles for tenderness as time rearranges their relative power. From its haunting opening description of Beijing’s early light bulbs, their rarity and weakness, this book’s jump-cuts of memory move backward and forward in time. These pages illuminate, obliquely and acutely, the story of a now-famous dissident poet’s rebellious emergence and survival, within the story of the intelligentsia’s larger harrowing amid the Chinese Revolution’s whiplash unfoldings.

—Jane Hirshfield

The soul of post-Mao poetry, Bei Dao reveals in this intimate, lyrical memoir a China that still haunts us with its brutal past and aching humanity. Like Balzac’s Paris, Dickens’ London, and Pushkin’s St. Petersburg, Bei Dao’s Beijing is a microcosm caught in a time warp, forever titillating our imagination.

—Yunte Huang, Editor of The Big Red Book of Modern Chinese Literature

Intense, elegant and impressionistic.

—Dwight Garner

Bei Dao’s poetry translates well in its bold imagery and implicit and oblique politics, using nature in a symbolism of indirection that is as subtle as it is apparent.

The Harvard Review

[Bei Dao] was obliged to create a new poetic idiom that was simultaneously a protective camouflage and an appropriate vehicle for ‘unreality’.

—Jonathan Spence, The New York Times Book Review

A Bei Dao poem feels as if it follows the pulse of consciousness.

—Robert Hass, Washington Post Book World
< Bernadette Mayer Basil Bunting >