Notes on the Mosquito: Selected Poems

Chuan XI (Author) Lucas Klein (Translator)


In the crevices of history, mosquitoes are everywhere, Xi Chuan writes. Notes on the Mosquito introduces English readers to one of the most revered poets of contemporary China. Gaining recognition as a post-Misty poet in the late 80s, Xi Chuan was famous for his condensed, numinous lyricism, and for radiating classical Chinese influences as much as Western modernist traditions. After the crushing failure of Tiananmen Square and the death of two of his closest friends, he stopped writing for three years. He re-emerged transformed: he began writing meditative, expansive prose poems that dismantled the aestheticism and musicality of his previous self. Divided into two sections that hinge around this formal break, Notes on the Mosquito offers the greatest hits of a deeply engaging poet, whose work intertwines the mountains and roads of Xinjiang with insects and mythical beasts, ghosts and sacred spirits with chess and a Sanskrit inscription."

Product Details

New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publish Date
April 12, 2012
6.06 X 0.76 X 9.0 inches | 0.81 pounds
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About the Author

Xi Chuan, born in 1963 in Xuzhou, Jiangsu province, is a poet, essayist, and translator. He currently teaches classical Chinese literature at the Central Academy for Fine Arts. His numerous prizes include the Modern Chinese Poetry Award (1994), the national Lu Xun Prize for Literature (2001), and the Zhuang Zhongwen Prize for Literature (2003).
Lucas Klein is a writer, translator, and editor of He is Assistant Professor in the Department of Chinese, Translation, and Linguistics at the City University of Hong Kong.


Xi Chuan is one of the most influential poets in contemporary China.
What unites his lyric poems and his essay-poems is that they all carry a sense of the world's plenitude -- evoked so gorgeously in a poem like "South Xinjiang Notes" -- and of the world's puzzlement. The plenitude is itself bewildering (what to make of the Turkic Muslims he runs into in beautiful South Xinjiang?) and the bewilderment has a certain beauty.