Literary Birthday – 2 August – Bei Dao


Happy Birthday, Bei Dao, born 2 August 1949

Five Quotes

  1. On the one hand poetry is useless. It can’t change the world materially. On the other hand it is a basic part of human existence. It came into the world when humans did. It’s what makes human beings human.
  2. Writing is the thing that sustains me and keeps me going. It is a form of self-preservation.
  3. I don’t think of writing my poems for China or for the world. I mainly think of a small audience of friends and people I know. I am writing for that small group. They are not necessarily going to be able to read it, but that’s what I have in mind when I write.
  4. Freedom is nothing but the distance between the hunter and the hunted.
  5. As a writer, the most important thing for me is to continue to write, no matter where I am.

Bei Dao is the pen name of Chinese poet Zhao Zhenkai. He is one of the most famous Misty Poets, a group of Chinese poets who reacted against the restrictions of the Cultural Revolution.

by Amanda Patterson