Magazine article Chinese Literature Today

XI Chuan

Magazine article Chinese Literature Today

XI Chuan

Article excerpt

The professional career path of Xi Chuan follows his poetic development: gaining recognition first as one of the post-Obscure poets in the late '80s, his writing was defined by a condensed lyricism in the Western modernist mode. Today, he writes expansive prose-poems that meditate on awkwardness and paradox at the individual and international levels simultaneously. The poems here represent Xi Chuan's developing style and continuing negotiation with the definitions and possibilities of poetry, with a shift in attention away from the lyric toward an attempt to find poetry within the mundane, and to describe the poetic in decidedly unpoetic language. His focus on the paradox is one poetic reaction to China's political and economic realities: his writing is at once a reaction to Party phrases such as "People's Democratic Dictatorship," and an affront to the more recent cheapening of cultural knowledge and activity. …

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