Poetic Friendship

Thoughts on Meng Lang’s passing – Denis Mair

My friend Meng Lang passed away in Hong Kong on December, 12 2018. The fact that I heard the news on my birthday (December 16) is perhaps an indication of our close karmic tie. His death is a jolt of mortality for me, because he was ten years my junior.

Meng Lang was active in the underground poetry scene from the mid-1980s. He was co-editor of an anthology of underground and non-official poetry published in 1986 called An Exhibition of New Poetry Groups (86年诗群大展). He left China in 1995 to spend three years as visiting poet at Brown University. After that he remained in exile, dividing his time between Boston and Hong Kong. Meng Lang’s passport was revoked when he left mainland China in 1995, so he was unable to go back to visit his family in Shanghai. He was given special “white travel passes” to return to Shanghai three times, for very short periods, to visit his ailing parents and attend their funerals.