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Memories of Mount Qilai: The Education of a Young Poet

by

Special To The Japan Times

Memories of Mount Qilai, by Yang Mu
Translated by John Balcom and Yingtsih Balcon
273 pages.
Columbia University Press, Nonfiction.

“The flames of war … hadn’t reached my ocean, my small city,” writes Chinese poet Yang Mu in an opening essay to his autobiographical account of life in Taiwan’s coastal region of Hualien. Although he survives World War II, Yang and the landscape around him are not unscathed by modernity. With direct and evocative prose, he recalls expanding cities, the rise of manufacturing and other changes. But these events are peripheral to his love for the “unchanging” landscape of his coastal home: from the sea and mountains, to smells that “inspire knowledge.” A vividly translated collection of memories from a great poet.