Colorado State University’s Creative Writing Program and Office of International Programs will host internationally acclaimed Chinese poet in exile Bei Dao as part of the fourth annual International Reading Series.
Bei Dao will read selected poems at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 18 in the North Ballroom of the Lory Student Center on campus. A reception, including book sales and signing, will follow in the Cherokee Park Room and University Club at the student center.
On Oct. 19 at 4 p.m., Bei Dao will lecture on politics and poetry in the Hatton Gallery in the Visual Arts Building. The lecture will be followed by a reception. All events are free and open to the public.
A product of China’s Cultural Revolution, Bei Dao has lived in involuntary exile from China since 1989 for protesting the incarceration of Wei Jingsheng, a leader of the 1978 democratic movement. Words from his poem, "The Answer," were chanted by protesters (including Bei Dao) in Tiananmen Square and written on posters hung in the square.
"For 30 years prior to the Cultural Revolution, Chinese literature, particularly poetry, was a vacuum, a territory of lies," Bei Dao wrote. "Though the Cultural Revolution was a disaster, it marked a turning point. Perhaps you can express it as an earthquake, opening up a new age."
Bei Dao’s poetry has been translated and published in 25 different languages in addition to his nine books in English and Chinese. He is an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim Fellow and a Stanford Presidential Lecturer. Among many other international literary awards, Bei Dao has received China’s National Award for Best Poetry Collection and the May Fourth Literary Prize from Beijing University.
Fellow poet Elliot Weingberger called his poetry "the primary expression for the change of consciousness yearned for by the new generation of student demonstrators."
The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote: "Bei Dao’s writing provides ample evidence of the written word’s power to effect political change."
Sponsors for the events include the Lilla B. Morgan Memorial Fund; the City of Fort Collins Fort Fund; Organization of Graduate Student Writers through ASCSU; the Graduate School’s Guest Scholars Committee; Lory Student Center Diversity Grants; Office of International Programs; College of Liberal Arts; University Park Holiday Inn; Asian/Pacific American Student Services; Colorado State’s Center for Applied Studies in American Ethnicity; and the departments of History, Political Science, English and Foreign Languages and Literature.