Mirror: Poems

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This posthumous collection is a detailed, retrospective look at one of the more brilliant poetic minds of the twenty-first century, and includes an introduction by Bai Hua and afterword by Bei Dao. A dark humor vivifies Zhang Zao's later work as he eroticizes the harrowing: doubt, finality, and then nothingness. The choice of these poems is retrospective: "Mirror," one of his earliest and best known works starts the collection, while "Lantern Town" was written less than two months before his death.


a letter opens and someone says
it's getting cold
another letter opens
it is empty, empty
yet heavier than the world
a letter opens
someone says he is singing from a mountain height
someone says
no, even if the potato was dead
the inertia alive in it
would still grow tiny hands
another letter opens
you sleep like a tangerine
but after peeling off your nudity someone says
he has touched another you
another letter opens
they are all laughing
everything around explodes into laughter
a letter opens
clouds and water run wild outside
a letter opens
I am chewing a certain darkness
another letter opens
high moon in the sky
another letter opens and shouts
death is something real

Translator Fiona Sze-Lorrain co-edited the Manoa anthologies, Sky Lanterns (2012) and On Freedom: Spirit, Art, and State (2013), and is the translator of three previous Jintian titles, including Lan Lan's Canyon in the Body and Wind Says by Bai Hua.

Publication Date: 
February 6, 2018