By Julia Lin
This first critical study of major contemporary Chinese poets in English treats the work of Chi Hsien, Cheng Ch’ou–yu, Chou Mengtieh, Lomen, Yungtzu, Ya Hsien, Yip Wai–lim, Wu Sheng, and Yu Kuang-chung. Ranging from the classically inspired to the highly experimental, their works represent some of the most important poetry written in the post–1949 period in China.
Beginning with a brief introduction to the state of poetry in post–1949 Taiwan, Lin shows that despite these poets’ conscious attempts to break with the past, their works continue to draw on the Chinese poetic heritage as well as on Western traditions, especially the modernist work of America and Europe. Lin demonstrates how, until quite recently, this poetry has exhibited a greater affinity with contemporary poetry elsewhere in the world than it has with that of the mainland. She also examines the aesthetic revolt of the mid–seventies, as a new “realist” trend evolved to replace the overly refined and highly obscure and difficult “modernist” verse of the fifties and sixties. With its strong national, regional, and social connotations, this new trend has brought the hitherto diverse streams of contemporary Chinese poetry—those of Taiwan and mainland China—much closer to each other than they have ever been before.
Professor Lin grounds her study in the scrutiny of many individual poems and illustrates her discussion with fresh translations of modern poems throughout. Her comments on specific poets and poems are succinct and perceptive and should be of great value to students, specialists, and general readers. The selected bibliography lists both English and Chinese sources.
Julia Lin was born in Shanghai and educated there until the communist takeover in 1949. She is currently professor of English at Ohio University.
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