Ji Xian (Chi Hsien) is the pen name of Lu Yu, who was born in Hebei Province but spent his childhood in Yangzhou, which he regards as his home. He graduated from Soochow Art Academy in 1933. In 1936 he went to Japan to study painting, returning to China the following year. During the Sino-Japanese War (1937–45), Ji Xian lived under harsh circumstances in various places, including Wuhan, Hong Kong (where he worked as an editor for the Citizen's Daily), and Shanghai. In 1948 he moved to Taiwan with his family; he taught for twentysix years at Chenggong High School in Taipei. He retired in 1974 and immigrated to the United States in 1976. He lives with his wife and continues to write poetry in Milbrae, California.
Ji Xian started writing at the age of sixteen. Under the pen name Louis, he befriended such poets as Dai Wangshu, Shi Zhecun, Xu Chi, and Du Heng in the 1930s, contributed to Les Contemporains, and founded various poetry journals. In Taiwan he created the Modern Poetry Quarterly in 1953, which served as a fertile breeding ground for a new generation of poets. In 1956 he founded the Modernist School and announced “Six Tenets,” the second of which states that modern Chinese poetry is the product of “horizontal transplantation” rather than “vertical inheritance.” In other words, foreign—especially Anglo-European—poetry rather than the Chinese literary tradition was the dominant influence on modern Chinese poetry. Throughout the 1950s and