Wang Dan (王丹), a prominent student leader during the 1989 Tian-anmen democracy movement, held a press conference in Taipei on Monday to publicize his latest books.
Thrown into the role of political activist and dissident by the times, Wang said that he prefers to define himself as a poet, adding that "literature is what enables me to survive."
Wang, 34, said "Politics is the red part of me, while writing is the blue part of me, and I hope that people see the real me made up of both colors."
I Am Awake With The Late Night (我與深夜一起清醒) is a collection of poems, while My Stranger's Status Gradually Becoming Clear (我異鄉人的身份逐漸清晰) is a work of prose. Both are published by the Locus Publishing Co.
Now a doctoral student in history at Harvard University, Wang said words have become his home over the past years of wandering between prison and foreign lands.
Wang was jailed in July 1989 for his part in the democracy demonstrations and released in February 1993. He was arrested again in October 1996 and later sentenced to an 11-year prison term.
In April 1998, he was paroled for medical reasons and was permitted to travel to the US for treatment, a move that effectively sent him into exile.
Noting that literature has had a deep bearing on his tendency toward writing since he was a child, Wang said he made a reading plan for himself when he began serving time "to prevent myself from falling apart."