The Chinese poet Bei Dao is among the strongest poetic impressions of my lifetime. To me, his poems are the work of a genius, a genius of juxtaposing, of simplicity, of acceleration, of tunneling through emblem and image.

Michael Hofmann, The Baffler

A lyrical masterpiece by the renowned poet with a “Whitman-like rhetorical immensity coupled with a passionately eccentric sensibility” (Carol Muske-Dukes, Los Angeles Times)

Available May, 14 2024

Sidetracks

Poetryby Bei Dao

Translated by Jeffrey Yang

Sidetracks, Bei Dao’s first new collection in almost fifteen years, is also the poet’s first long poem and his magnum opus—the artistic culmination of a lifetime devoted to the renewal and reinvention of language. “As a poet, I am always lost,” Bei Dao once said. Opening with a prologue of heavenly questions and followed by thirty-four cantos, Sidetracks travels forward and backward along the divergent paths of the poet’s wandering life—from his time as a Young Pioneer in Beijing, through the years of exile living in six countries, back to the rural construction site where he worked during the Cultural Revolution, to the “sunshine tablecloth” in his kitchen in Davis, California, and his emotional visit home after a thirteen-year separation (“the mother tongue has deepened my foreignness”). All the various currents of our times rush into his lifelines, reconfigured through the “vortex of experience” and the poet’s encounters with friends and strangers, artists and ghosts, as he moves from place to place, unable to return home. As the poet Michael Palmer has noted, “Bei Dao’s work, in its rapid transitions, abrupt juxtapositions, and frequent recurrence to open syntax evokes the un-speakability of the exile’s condition. It is a poetry of explosive convergences, of submersions and unfixed boundaries, ‘amid languages.’”

Paperback(published May, 14 2024)

ISBN
9780811238441
Price US
18.95
Trim Size
5x8
Page Count
176pp

Ebook

ISBN
9780811238458
Portrait of Bei Dao

Bei Dao

Contemporary Chinese poet, representative of the Misty Poets.

The Chinese poet Bei Dao is among the strongest poetic impressions of my lifetime. To me, his poems are the work of a genius, a genius of juxtaposing, of simplicity, of acceleration, of tunneling through emblem and image.

Michael Hofmann, The Baffler

Bei Dao’s poems are intense, elegant, and impressionistic. A dream-like push and flow.

Dwight Garner, The New York Times