‘Empty Chairs’ By Liu Xia

http://amzn.to/2x8Ie5HIt seemed unfair (and possibly sexist) to read Liu Xiaobo and not read his wife and fellow poet, Liu Xia.

I do not know how typical the poems are (the dates range from 1983 to 2013), but based on the sample size of one collection each, Liu Xia was the finer poet. Maybe that really means she had a finer translator, but the artistic and political demands are better balanced and… they’re just better to read.

And knowing that her husband, who is addressed or referenced in the many love poems in here, died recently (while serving a eleven year sentence; ostensible ‘crime’ doesn’t matter; he was a political prisoner) and that she is under an extra-legal form of house arrest (so also a political prisoner), makes many of the poems, which touch on love and on freedom curtailed, devastating (and never didactic).