Cerise Press Editors' Favorites Poetry

Masks and Crocodile
BY Yang Lian
BY Mabel Lee
(Wild Peony Books , 1990)

“The face silent throughout / you hiding behind / telling lies // the face too is made to speak / as if also cruelly deceived / lies” — Born in 1955 in Switzerland, Yang Lian has established himself as one of the reputed Chinese “misty” poets. His writings have often been conveniently classified as “modernist.” First published in 1990, Masks and Crocodiles contains two sets of thirty haiku/koan-like poems (each in two stanzas of three verses), based on inspirations from an apparent polarity of masks and crocodiles. With illustrations by Li Liang, this edition also contains a richly insightful introduction by award-winning translator Mabel Lee, situating Yang’s poetic work in socio-historical context, while discussing his philosophical and intellectual concerns as forms of a strong commitment to history.

— Greta Aart