Red Snow

Palden Gyal reviews Avalanche, a collection of prison poems from Tibet

Better known by his pseudonym “Theurang” – a mysterious imp-like creature living in high mountains, known for its mischievous intrusion in human settlements – Tashi Rabten is one of the most prominent and widely read young contemporary poets in Tibetan literary circles today.

Theurang rose to literary stardom as a student of literature at the Northwestern University for Nationalities in Gansu Province, around the politically tumultuous period of 2008, when riots shook the Tibetan Plateau. Recording his sentiments and reflections on the 2008 uprisings and the subsequent crackdown campaigns, Theurang published Written in Blood (Khrag Yig), a collection of poems and essays which was well received before it was banned. His involvement in student protests, his poetry and publications in the now-banned literary journal Eastern Conch Mountain (Shar Dung Ri), and his literary activities in general, led to his arrest in 2010 and a four-year prison sentence.