Thursday, July 13, 2017


Known as "the Mandela of China" by some, Liu Xiaobo is the first Nobel Laureate to die in government custody since the days of Nazi Germany. Poetry is still powerful enough to frighten totalitarian power structures into jailing the more rebellious ones.

(It's true he was arrested for advocating for human rights, but among all those arrested with him, it was he alone who was sentenced to a decade in prison, and there is no doubt it was because they feared his stature as a poet.)

Long live Liu Xiabo's spirit, poetry, and purpose!

PS: I'm not crazy about the English translations of his poetry so far but here's a pretty good excerpt from his poem "Experiencing Death":

Even if I know
death's a mysterious unknown
being alive, there's no way to experience death
and once dead
cannot experience death again
yet I'm still
hovering within death
a hovering in drowning
Countless nights behind iron-barred windows
and the graves beneath starlight
have exposed my nightmares

Besides a lie
I own nothing

(And PPS: here's the Times obit)

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