The Launching Ceremony of Zhao Lihong’s Pains (Manuscript in Chinese and English) and Opening Ceremony of Art Library, Jing’an District Library


Minsheng Lecture


Cao Kefan


Zhao Lihong, Miu Kegou


Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum, Jing’an District Library, Baihuazhou Literature and Art Press

Guests: Zhao Lihong, Miu Kegou
Host: Cao Kefan
Date: 15:00-17:00 Sunday, August 18, 2019
Venue: Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum (Xinyefang 3, Wenshui Road 210, Jing’an District)
Co-host: Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum, Jing’an District Library, Baihuazhou Literature and Art Press

Pains (Manuscript in Chinese and English), poetry collection by Zhao Lihong

Human history is a history of dodging pain and pursuing happiness. Does the essence of human being lie in the pains? Perhaps, the only solution is to accept the pains, and drown it with our lively energy. To tackle pain, we could converse with it, go on a journey with it, sleep and wake up with it, sit with it, drink a cup of tea, read a poem, admire a painting with it. Feuerbach once said: “The true happiness is the true religion.” In art, saints and sages found solace, art practitioners found the meaning of life.
Zhao Lihong is a renowned writer who just won the “Mihai Eminescu” National Poetry Award in 2019. He is invited to Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum with his new book Pains (Manuscript in Chinese and English), to give a talk about our daily philosophy and the solution to pain—human being’s “The Riddle of the Sphinx.” He is going to bring us the touching passages, words, images, and lines, to kindle our souls.

The Apologist of “Pains”

Zhao Lihong and Adunis in Paris, June, 2018

Zhao Lihong is best known as an essayist, and the most course materials collected contemporary writer. In just three decades, his 60 essay collections were published, more than 10 essays were collected into the course materials of mainland China, Hong Kong, and Singapore. But actually, it was his poems that got him known by all. In 1982, his poem collection Coral was published by Chongqing Publishing House. He was an active role in the 1980s Chinese poetic circles, his name mentioned along with Shuting, Beidao, Jiang He, Ye Yanbin, Lei Shuyan, etc. At the same period, Ba Jin gave Zhao a copy of Ba Jin’s Forwords and Afterwords. On the title page, Ba Jin wrote: “Write what you are most familiar with. Write what touched you the most.” These two sentences have become Zhao’s motto of writing.

Zhao won the “Mihai Eminescu” National Poetry Award in 2019. The picture is the certificate.

Though it has been over 40 years since he took on writing, Zhao Lihong remains passionate as when he began. “I write only for present the touching ups and downs of life, without vanity and utilitarian thoughts.” If anything changed over the years, it is how he writes. When young, Zhao always wants to write explicit poems, while now he tends to write about the sensitive inner world, vividly, but tenderly. In these years, he wrote down what he captured in life on the notebook, filling it with words, sentences, description of an object, making up a collection of manuscripts with illustrations. He accumulated what he captured about “pain” and stimulated the energy of “pain,” proactively feeling what it is. These materials were later re-organized into poetry, and later became Pains (Manuscript in Chinese and English).

Zhao’s manuscripts.

When Zhao raised the question of “pain,” he also raised the question of “painless.” Zhao’s poems reflected his refined philosophical thoughts and intense sensitivity of art. It is possible for human to live without pain? Or, it is possible for them to live happily and peacefully, even though they are surrounded by pain?

Writing about “pains”, a leap for poetry theory, and the result of a new era

Pains is also published in Romanian. Zhao signed for Romanian readers.

Every generation lives with their own pain. During the long journey of life, there are different kinds of pain, and therefore feelings towards life differs. Pains (Manuscript in Chinese and English) captures the status of the era. It is the result of the poet’s living experience, and also it describes a way of life. The poem collection provokes active thoughts: after polished by all kinds of pains, one will approach happiness.
“Pain is like love, the oldest and most profound title for poetry. It takes an incredibly strong, brave mind to write about it and not be swallowed by the many previous excellent works.” Yang Lian
“In Zhao Lihong’s poetry, he wrote about the pain of soul, the pain of life, the pain of time, the pain of language.” Tang Xiaodu
“The most poetic about Zhao’s poem is that, we don’t know where is the pain from or how is it made. If there really are answers to these questions, then the answers contain more questions. Because poetry will always be raising questions or making questions, which makes poetry unique and creatice.” Adunis

After all kinds of pain, one will approach happiness

Zhao Lihong took pictures with poets from around the world after the award ceremony of “Mihai Eminescu” National Poetry Award.

Art is extremely close to the meaning of life, but our road to art may not always be smooth. It is safe to say that China’s contemporary art witnessed the similar pain as Zhao’s during the development period. Encountering pain, art extends our ability. Art instructs, advises, and comforts the audience, making them better people. As a private sector aiming at giving back to the community, Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum stays committed to offering high quality service and experience about art, while evolving along with the tide of times. We hope that the public can seek the true meaning of life during their communicating with art.

Minsheng Art Archives (MAA)

In the attempt to make it accessible for the public to learn about the development of China’s contemporary art, Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum established Minsheng Art Archives (MAA) in 2017. Base on MAA, on August 18, 2019, Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum collaborated with Jing’an District Library and established the Art Library of Jing’an District Library, promoting the public cultural service system of Jing’an District.
Zhao Lihong is a self-conscious poet and essayist, who encourages people to seek a balanced and joyful life through poetry and art. At the Launching Ceremony of Zhao Lihong’s Pains (Manuscript in Chinese and English) and Opening Ceremony of Jing’an District Library on August 18, 2019, Zhao is going to give a talk about his poetry. His poems talk about death, scars, and pains, and also about delight, joy, and dreams. Join this event to communicate with our souls, and also get free copies of Zhao Lihong’s Pains (Manuscript in Chinese and English). The number of the free copies is limited and will be given out on first-come-first-served bias.

The schedule of the Launching Ceremony of Zhao Lihong’s Pains (Manuscript in Chinese and English) and Opening Ceremony of Art Library, Jing’an District Library

  • 15:00-15:20
    The Opening and Signing Ceremony of MAA-Art Library, Jing’an District Library
    (1F, Multimedia-Interactive Hall)

  • 15:20-15:50
    The Launching Ceremony of Zhao Lihong’s Pains (Manuscript in Chinese and English)
    (Same venue as before)

  • 15:50-16:20
    Poetry Recital and Q&As
    (Same venue as before)

  • 16:30-17:00
    Book signing of Zhao Lihong’s Pains (Manuscript in Chinese and English)


Zhao Lihong

Zhao Lihong, one of China’s most gifted poets and authors, was born in Shanghai in 1952. Zhao currently holds several positions, namely—director of the China Writers Association, vice-president of the Shanghai Writers Association, the publisher of Shanghai Literature, a monthly magazine. He is also a guest professor with East China Normal University and Shanghai Jiao Tong University. So far, Zhao has published more than 80 works in poetry, prose and reportages. His writings have influenced many new writers and he has won several literary awards, including The Golden Key (Serbia 2013), Outstanding Contribution for Art and Literature (Shanghai, 2014). He is the first Chinese poet who won the “Mihai Eminescu” National Poetry Award (Romania, 2019). A number of his works are part of the Chinese primary and secondary schools and college syllabus. His works have been translated into several foreign languages.

Miu Kegou

Writer, poet. Miu was born in Wenzhou in 1974. He began writing poetry since 1990s, when he was in middle school. He has authored poetry collections Blooming Alone (Du Zi Kai Fang, 2003), Alchemy of Time (Shi Guang De Lian Jin Shu, 2015), The Family of Salt (Yan De Jia Zu, 2019), fiction and proses Drifting Bottle, The Sea of Young Man, The Shouting of Yellow Fish, etc. He is also the editor of Xindi’s Works series. Part of his works have been recommended abroad. He is now a member of China Writers Association, the Director of Poetry at Shanghai Writer Association, the vice editor of Wenhui Bao. The awards he won include China News Awards, the Golden Prize of China Newspaper Supplement Award, China’s Long Poem Award, Shanghai Literature Award, and the 6 Top Ten New Culture Influence, the 12th Shanghai Yangtze Taofen Award, etc.


Cao Kefan

Cao is a famous Chinese television presenter, and essayist. He is the winner of “China’s Golden Microphone Award.” He is now the vice president of Shanghai Television Artist Association, and the director of Shanghai Writers Association. He is also the gust professor of Tongji University, and a deputy to the National People’s Congress.

About the Launching Book

Pains (Manuscript in Chinese and English)
Author: Zhao Lihong
Translator: Cao Chan (Californian)
Publisher: Baihuazhou Literature and Art Press
Publishing date: August, 2019

The winner of the Romanian “Mihai Eminescu” National Poetry Award Zhao Lihong is the first Chinese poet who won the Romanian “Mihai Eminescu” National Poetry Award in 2019.

The phenomenal poetry collection in contemporary China. It has been published in numerous languages, including English, French, Spanish, Bulgaria, Serbia, Romania, Italy, Arab, Persia, and South Korea, etc.

It is the first poetry manuscript that encloses both Chinese and English.


Pains (Manuscript in Chinese and English) combines poetry with drawing, and thus it is both a literature work and an art—the essence of poetry. With the drawing, readers are closer to the beauty of Zhao’s works. In the book we can clearly see how Zhao’s writing style transformed, and how he transcended from his past. Zhao’s focus changed from describing the outside objective world to exploring the inner world.
In terms of writing technique, Zhao Lihong no longer straightforwardly describes marvelous images, but reached the status of superlative poetic.