Green Mountain: Poems
by Yang Jian
Translated by Fiona Sze-Lorrain
60 Poems ~ 156 Pages
Price: $25.00
Format: 5 ¼” x 8 ¼” ~ Perfect Bound
Publisher: MerwinAsia
ISBN: 978-1-937385-36-1
To Order:


The poetry of Yang Jian as translated by Fiona Sze-Lorrain is a poetic, religious and
historical education. Yang’s work is heralded world-wide for its clarity of thought,
economy of language and vivid imagery. As a practicing Buddhist Yang’s deep faith is
pervasive throughout his work, particularly as it he applies his faith to the totality of life.
Born in 1967, Yang experienced, first-hand, China’s Cultural Revolution. As Christopher
Merrill states in his foreword: “This remarkable poet has turned Mao Zedong’s murderous
legacy into a poetics predicated on his ability to see into the life of things.” This superb
translation by Sze-Lorrain poignantly captures all three emphases by Yang Jian.


Yang Jian is the rarest of contemporary Chinese poets who takes on the excesses of
modernization and materialism. In his signature style of economy and imagery, which
Fiona Sze-Lorrain has rendered in English with precision, Yang creates a poetic
landscape of hermit living which is as enthralling as it is illusory.
—Dian Li, Professor of modern Chinese literature at the University of Arizona

Fiona Sze-Lorrain’s translation captures the spare essence of Yang Jian’s poetry in all its
honesty and in its deep expression of his own Buddhist faith. This beautiful translation
offers the reader a rich and delicate portrait of the poet’s world in all its complexity. Sze-
Lorrain’s profound knowledge of Yang Jian’s language, as well as her sensitivity to his
imagery, enables her to provide a vivid portrait of both his spiritual and mundane life.
—Morris Rossabi, author of A History of China, Distinguished Professor at the
City University of New York, and Adjunct Professor at Columbia University.

Fiona-Sze-Lorrain’s translations meticulously present Yang Jian’s sickly, serene land-
scapes, where feeling resists sentimentality and witness resists idolatry. She leads us
through rain, dust, and decay with bracing directness, inviting s to hear the “archaic
beauty” of the poet’s voice and glimpse a vision “as vivid as devastation.”
—Jennifer Zoble, Clinical Assistant Professor at New York University and Co-Editor of
In Translation (The Brooklyn Rail)


Lauded as one of the greatest Chinese living poets, Yang Jian writes in the tradition of
pastoral poetry. Born in Anhui Province in 1967, he worked as a factory laborer for
several years before starting to write in the mid-eighties. He is the author of five volumes
of verse: Selected Poems (2015), Weeping Temple (2014), Remorse (2009), Ancient
(2007), and Late Dusk (2003), the latter rated as one of the nation’s top ten titles
of the year. His honors include the Liu Li’an Poetry Award, the Rougang Poetry Prize,
the Yulong Poetry Prize, and the prestigious Chinese Media Literature Award. Also, a
prolific ink and wash painter, Yang leads a Buddhist life in Ma’anshan, Anhui.


Fiona Sze-Lorrain is the author of three books of poetry, most recently The Ruined
(Princeton, 2016), a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Price, and one of
Library Journal’s “Best Books 2015: Poetry.” She also a zheng harpist and a widely
published translator of contemporary Chinese, French, and American poets. Her work
was shortlisted for the 2016 Best Translated Book Award and longlisted for the 2014
PEN Award for Poetry in Translation. She has been named a 2019-2020 Abigail R.
Cohen Fellow at the Columbian Institute for Ideas and Imagination. She lives in Paris.


Green Mountain

by Yang Jian
Translated by Fiona Sze-Lorrain

A pond of lotus leaves at the mountain’s foot
is left with a parched voice
Days of snow
can’t even cover a dead lotus leaf

Snow is boundless
Vaster than snow
it can turn into a ball of fire
but can’t ignite the fire

A fat cloud flies over
A jar of herbs
Is dampened by darkness

It shatters at the summit
Cold and alone
A quiet path climbs

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