Hosting Words / Aleš Šteger and Yang Lian
House of Literature Maribor, Vojašniška ul. 12
Wednesday, 26 September 2012 at 18:00

Literary debate between Chinese poet Yang Lian and Slovene poet Aleš Šteger is the first among the accompanying events of the exhibition Maribor Project / Rebecca Horn & Guests.

World renowned poet Yang Lian (1955) was born in Switzerland and grew up in Beijing. His earliest attempts at writing date back into the 1970’s when he was one of the founders of the poetry group Misty, which signalled the beginning of a new wave of Chinese poetry. Lian’s poems exude a deep understanding of and innovative intertextuality with classical Chinese poetry. After the Tiananmen massacre in 1988, Lian was offered asylum in Australia and New Zealand. His work in Chinese includes eleven poetry collections, two prose collections and a collection of essays. Lian’s work has been translated into more than twenty foreign languages. Besides the poetry collections published in China, Lian also published three anthologies and a collection of essays A Tower Built Downward (Beijing, 2009) between 1999 and 2003. Yang Lian was awarded numerous international literary prizes, including the Italian Flaiano International Poetry Prize (1999) and the Italian Nonino International Literature Prize (2012). In 1999 his poetry collection Where the Sea Stands Still: New Poems received the British honorary title Poetry Books Society recommended Translation. Besides twelve poetry collections which have been translated into English Lian’s most representative work includes: the aforementioned collection of short and longer poems Where the Sea Stands Still, the poem Yi (Green Integer Publishing House, USA, 2002), the poem Concentric Circles (Bloodaxe Books Publishing House, Great Britain, 2005) and Riding Pisces: Poems From Five Collections (Shearsman Books Publishing House, Great Britain, 2008). Together with Scottish poet W. N. Herbert and translator Brian Holton Yang Lian created Jade Ladder, the latest anthology of modern Chinese poetry in English (Bloodaxe Books, Great Britain, 2011). As a world renowned poet, having made guest appearances in Berlin, the USA, Great Britain, France, Australia and New Zealand. Lian was voted member of the Board of PEN International twice (2008 and 2011). Since 1997 Lian resides in London.

Aleš Šteger (1973) by publishing his literary debut Šahovnice ur (Chessboards of Hours) in 1995, became one of the most exciting names of contemporary poetry in Slovenia. He served as editor of the cultural section at the Slovene student newspaper Tribuna. He was a cofounder and the programme head of the Student Publishing House and Beletrina book collection. He was the initiator and programme manager of the international poetry festival Days of Poetry and Wine in Medana, Slovenia. Šteger is currently the head of Terminal 12 programme strand with the European Capital of Culture Maribor 2012. Aleš Šteger is the author of five poetry collections Šahovnice ur (Chessboards of Hours, 1995), Kašmir (Cashmere, 1997), Protuberance (2002), Knjiga reči (The Book of Things, 2005), Knjiga teles (The Book of Bodies, 2010). He has published prose works and collection of essays. He has collaborated with numerous artists, such as painter Dušan Fišer, with whom Šteger created a series of artistic actions and exhibitions, he recorded an album entitled Kamen (2005) with Austrian double bass player Peter N. Gruber. Šteger is also the author of the libretto in Cum grano salis, written in collaboration with composer Uroš Rojko (2005). Šteger’s poems were set to music by popular musicians, including the instrumental band Godalika. October 2010 saw the premiere of Šteger’s children’s musical Kurent, co-produced by Maribor Puppet Theatre and Ptuj Puppet Theatre.

Šteger is the recipient of Slovene and international literary awards and scholarships, including the Veronika award for best poetry collection (1996), the Rožanc award for best collection of essays (2007), a scholarship by the Abraham Woursell Foundation (200), a scholarship by DAAD Künstlerprogramm (2005) and the American BTBA award for best book in translation (2011). Šteger’s work has been translated into numerous languages.