Liu Waitong
(China, 1975)   
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Liu Waitong

It is through poetry that Liu reflects on the past and present of China and Hong Kong. Liu is very much concerned with everything that happens on both sides of the border. This is common with emigrant writers, whose work often reveals their ‘cross border experience.’ The current selection of ten poems spans a period of nearly a decade (2003-2012), and focuses on issues such as the Tiananmen massacre, self-immolation of Tibetan monks and pollution of the Pearl River Delta. What happens in China is often absurd and therefore, he says, his poems convey emotions of pain and anger. Yet at the same time, Liu is fascinated by the beauty and mystery of traditional Chinese culture and the contrast between the two (worry about the present and fascination with the past) occur alternately in his poems. Particularly strong, for instance, are the colours and contrasts in the poem ‘An elegy that does not mourn’ about Tibetan self-immolation:

the crystal that weeps atop emptiness of 1.4 billion
the crystal that growls under the fighting willing of you five million people this black ice that gallops in scarlet water cannot be granted the blessing of jinlab
this ionic soul that flees from lightning clouds cannot be taken hostage

Contrasts such as red and black, fire and ice, heat and cold, death and rebirth, love and hate, reveal emotions of pain and anger.
Liu is author and photographer. He was born in Guangdong in 1975 and emigrated to Hong Kong in 1997. He went to Beijing for a period of five years in 2003 to study and to experience ‘bohemian life’ in the capital. This resulted in the publication Bohemian China which he co-authored with Yan Jun and Chen Guanzhong in 2004. Besides poetry, Liu also writes essays and short stories and has won literary prizes in Hong Kong and Taiwan, including the China Times Literature Award and the United Daily News Literature Award.

© Audrey Heijns (Translated by Audrey Heijns)

Yongye《永夜》(Endless Nights), Gaoxiao Lianhe, Shanxi, 1995
Suizhe Yumen Xiachen《隨著魚們下沈》(Falling Down with Fish), Hongye, Hong Kong, 1998
Huayuan de Jiaoluo, Huo Jiaoluo de Huayuan《花園的角落,或角落的花園》(Corner in the Garden, or A Garden at the Corner), Dongan, Hong Kong, 1999
Shoufengqin lide Langyou《手風琴裏的浪遊》(Wandering in the Accordion), Suye, Hong Kong, 2001
Boximiya Xingluyao《波希米亞行路謠》(Walking Songs of a Bohemian), Lianhe, Taipei, 2004
Ku Tianshi《苦天使》(Bitter Angel), Aquarius, Taipei, 2005
Shaonian You《少年遊》(Travelling When Young), Tiandi, Sichuan, 2005
Heiyu Jiangzhi《黑雨將至》(Black Rain Will Fall), Aquarius, Taipei, 2008
He Youling Yiqi de Xianggang Manyou 《和幽靈一起的香港漫遊》(With a Ghost Roaming in Hong Kong), Kubrick, Hong Kong, 2008
Yeman Yege野蛮夜歌(Barbaric Night Song), Jincheng, Beijing, 2011
Bachi Xueyi八尺雪意(Eight Feet Snow Spell) , INK, Taipei, 2012
Shiba tiao Xiaoxiang de Zhanzheng Youxi《十八條小巷的戰爭遊戲》(War Game in Eighteen Alleys), Aquarius, Taipei, 2004
Boximiya Zhongguo《波希米亞中國》(Bohemian China), Oxford University Press, Hong Kong, 2004
Women zaici Cheli, zhi Liuxia Guang《我們在此撤離,只留下光》(We Evacuate Here, Leaving Only the Light), Dakuai, Taiwan, 2007
Yijin Yexing《衣錦夜行》(Wearing Flowers Wandering in the Night), INK, Taipei, 2010.
Boximiya Xianggang《波希米亞香港》(Bohemian Hong Kong), Peking University Press, Beijing, 2011
Chu Lidao Ji《出離島記》(Beyond the Outlying Islands), Shangshu, Hong Kong, 2011
Fucheng Shu Mengren: Xianggang Zuojia Fangtanlu浮城述夢人 : 香港作家訪談錄(A Floating City’s Narrative about Dreamers: A Record of Interviews with Hong Kong Writers), Joint Publishing, Hong Kong, 2012.
Gudu de Zhongguo《孤獨的中國》(Lonely China), Tangshan, Taipei, 2004
Bali Wuti Juzhao《巴黎無題劇照》 (Paris Photos de Scène Sans Titre), Lianhe, Taipei, 2004


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