Erkundung des Bösen

Erkundung des Bösen

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Globalization urgently calls for a more intensive exchange between the various cultures. Compared to earlier times, poetry today has a very different kind of responsibility. Erkundung des Bösen is the latest collection of poems by Chinese poet Yang Lian in German translation. These present works are closely related to the current dilemmas of China and the world: Hong Kong, the pandemic, Russia's war of aggression on Ukraine, fates of exiles in a new context. Crisis, thought and poetry stimulate one another, and the question of humanity ensues.

What makes this collection also unique are the translators, who in turn are made up of a diverse group of German-speaking poets and, indeed, translators. Poets such as Joachim Sartorius, Jan Wagner, Ann Cotten, Dieter M. Gräf, and Hans Christoph Buch thus continue the project of mutual transmissions between Chinese and German poets that Yang Lian has accompanied for many years, practicing common poetic reflection between the languages. Experienced translators such as Rupprecht Mayer or the younger generation around Daniel Bayerstorfer and Lea Schneider, among others, accord Yang Lian's poems a rich and diverse sound through their different approaches and translation styles. Ultimately, Erkundung des Bösen as a poetic whole is always rooted in life, confronts the crisis and, thanks to its rich, creatively charged language, hurls a "lightning bolt into our time," as Frank Kraushaar writes.

Voices about Erkundung des Bösen and Yang Lian:

Yang Lian's poetry is rigorously and precisely thought through: It links history and reality with metaphysical speculation, as layer by layer it goes deeper and deeper down, until he has transcended tradition, presenting proof of the crimes of human civilisation - while at the same time reading like an accusation of human civilisation. Yang Lian, outstanding logician and analyst, has laid out, dissected, and parsed his evidence for us. His existence instantly shows up the true colours of the affectation and artificiality normalised by so many poets, with their contrived moaning and cynical dodging.

- Ai Weiwei

Should it be true that a poem can at once deeply disturb, even shock, but at the same time uplift a reader due to its mastery, then this poem is proof.

- Jan Wagner

Yang Lian's Erkundung des Bösen strikes like lightning bolt above the dark world of our time.

- Frank Kraushaar

Yang Lian distinguishes himself in representing the pain of life caught in between historic eras. A new version of an old issue for world literature as well as Chinese literature is proposed:

How to continue writing, relying on individual rather than enforced communal inspiration.

- Allen Ginsberg

Further information

Author: Yang Lian

English Review Long Poem Magazine

Additional product information

21 x 17 cm
January 2023