Yang Ke is a prominent representative poet of the “folk writing” movement in China. Since 1985, Yang Ke has published eleven books of poetry as well as three collections of essays and an anthology. His works have been included in many poetry anthologies, including Chinese New Literature Series and Centennial Collection of Chinese New Poems. His poems have been translated into English, Japanese, German, French, Korean and Indonesian. He has edited every Chinese New Poems Yearbook published between 1998 and 2014, their Ten Year Poetry Anthology, Hazy Poem Anthology (China Series fourth volume), along with many other selections of poetry. He has won numerous literature awards in mainland China and Taiwan, including the eighth Lu Xun's Literature Award for Guangdong Province, Top Ten in the First Chinese Poetry Bi-annual Awards (2006-2007), and the Chinese Contemporary Poetry (2000-2010) Dedication Award. He now lives in Guangzhou, where he serves as vice president of the Guangdong Writer's Association and President of Literary Works, a literary magazine.
Simon Patton is a Brisbane based freelance literary translator and part-time teacher of Chinese at the University of Queensland. Patton has been translating Chinese literature for over fifteen years, especially contemporary poetry.
The workers who have to beg for wages. 148 pairs of injured hands
waving from the Daqing coal mine.
Li Aiye, who caught AIDS after giving blood.
The shepherd bachelors of the loess slopes.
Gossipy women, mouths slick with spit as they count their cash.
Hair salon girls: unlicensed sex-workers.
Peddlers engaged in guerrilla warfare with city authorities.
in need of a sauna.
The 9 to 5 tribe off to work on their bicycles.
Good-for-nothings with nowhere to go and nothing to do.
The bar-room wasters. Old men
sipping tea as they pet songbirds.
Scholars who fill the heads of their listeners with fog.
Derros, punters, porters stinking to high heaven;
dandies, beggars, doctors, secretaries (and secret mistresses);
and other supporting actors.
From the Avenue of Heavenly Peace to the Guangzhou Dadao
I have yet to see 'The People' this winter;
I've seen vulgar speaking bodies
keeping each other warm
on buses day after day.
They're like filthy coins,
handed over frowning