In Shangyang Fang’s debut Burying the Mountain, longing and loss rush through a portal of difficult beauty. Absence is translated into fire ants and snow, a boy’s desire is transfigured into the indifference of mountains and rivers, and loneliness finds its place in the wounded openness of language. From the surface of a Song Dynasty ink-wash painting to a makeshift bedroom in Chengdu, these poems thread intimacy, eros, and grief. Evoking the music of ancient Chinese poetry, Fang alloys political erasure, exile, remembrance, and death into a single brushstroke on the silk scroll, where names are forgotten as paper boats on water.
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“The poems in Burying the Mountain are characterized by a wild ekphrastic stream of consciousness, with Shangyang Fang narrating under the influence of classical music, opera, and Baroque and avant-garde painting, while reinventing myths and fairy tales.” —Poetry Foundation