Brian Holton on Yang Lian


Interviewing the Chinese poet Yang Lian’s thoughtful translator — Brian Holton — was a fantastic experience for me. Translating, I feel, is an art equal to the creation of a poem and – also – it is act that requires more faith, more worry, and more risk if you ‘get it wrong’. Holton’s translations are sensitive, imaginitve and creatively solve the problems inherent in working between two very different languages and styles. His ability to capture Yang Lian’s voice is illustrated here in this podcast. It was an absoloute pleasure to sit with Brian and I hope you’ll enjoy it too.

— Ryan


We chat with the illuminating Brian Holton at the StAnza poetry festival in St Andrews. He gives us the chance to hear some of his superb translations into English and Scots of the Chinese poet Yang Lian and he discusses translation, ideas of exile and the evolution of modern Chinese poetry with Reader in Residence Ryan Van Winkle. Produced by Colin Fraser of Anon Poetry Magazine Music by Ewen Maclean. Mail: