Before and since his enforced exile, Yang Lian has been one of the most innovative and influential poets in China. Widely hailed in America and Europe as a highly individual voice in world literature, he has been translated into many languages. Yang Lian has written that Concentric Circles is `the most important piece since I came out from China', and that it is emphatically not a political work, but instead a work focused on `deep reality' and the nature of how humans understand that reality through the medium of language. The book, like the sections of which it is comprised, uses a kind of collage, where many small fragments, each complete in itself, are aligned together in a series of patterns to form a grander mosaic: from line to line, poem to poem, cycle to cycle, in ever-widening concentric structures. Yang Lian regards this English version as an integral part of the work as a whole - indeed, it could be said that the work is incomplete without its English parallel, and that as he reads it he is `struggling free from time and incorporated into the beautiful "concentric circles" of ancient and modern poetry, in China or elsewhere'.