Duo Duo

"Duo Duo remains a poet's poet."—Michelle Yeh, "'Monologue of a Stormy Soul': The Poetry and Poetics of Duo Duo, 1972-1988" (WLT Vol. 85, March 2011)

Duo Duo 多多 (b. 1951) is the pen name of Li Shizheng. He started writing poetry in the early 1970s as a youth during the isolated, midnight hours of the Cultural Revolution, and many of his early poems critiqued the Cultural Revolution from an insider’s point of view in a highly sophisticated, original style. Often considered part of the “Misty” school of contemporary Chinese poetry, he nevertheless kept a cautious distance from any literary trends or labeling. After witnessing the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, Duo Duo left China and did not return for more than a decade. Upon his return to China in 2004, the literary community received him with honor and praise. Duo Duo currently resides on Hainan Island and teaches at Hainan University in China.

In his speech about Duo Duo during the 2010 Neustadt Festival, nominating author Mai Mang said of the poet, "Duo Duo is a great lone traveler crossing borders of a nation, language, and history as well as a resolute seer of some of the most basic, universal human values that have often been shadowed in our troubled modern time: creativity, nature, love, dreams, and wishful thinking." ("Duo Duo: Master of Wishful Thinking," WLT Vol. 85, March/April 2011)

Duo Duo writes in Chinese, but several of his poems have been translated into English. Collections of his English translations include Looking Out from Death: From the Cultural Revolution to Tiananmen Square (1989) and The Boy Who Catches Wasps (2002). Snow Plain, published in 2010, is a collection of translated short stories.

2010 Neustadt Jurors and Finalists


Sefi Atta (Nigeria/US) Ha Jin (China/US)
Horacio Castellanos Moya (El Salvador) Ricardo Piglia (Argentina/US)
Aleksandar Hemon (Bosnia/US) Michael Ondaatje (Sri Lanka/Canada)
Etgar Keret (Israel) Haruki Murakami (Japan)
Joanne Leedom-Ackerman (US) Margaret Atwood (Canada)
Mai Mang (China/US) Duo Duo (China)
Claire Messud (Canada/US) A. B. Yehoshua (Israel)
Pireeni Sundaralingam (Sri Lanka/US) Athol Fugard (South Africa/US)
Niloufar Talebi (Iran/US)         Shahriar Mandanipour (Iran)