The May Fourth Movement launched an era of turmoil and transformation in China, as Western ideas and education encroached on the Confucian traditions at the root of Chinese society. The Republican period (1919–49) witnessed an outpouring of poetry in a form and style new to China, written in the common people’s language, baihua ("plain speech"). The New Poetry broke with the centuries-old tradition of classical poetry and its intricate forms, and the rise of China’s modern poetry reflects the rise of modern China. The Flowering of Modern Chinese Poetry presents English translations of over 250 poems by fifty poets, including a rich selection of poetry by women writers, to provide a nuanced picture of the rapid development of vernacular verse in China from its emergence during the May Fourth Movement, through the years of the Japanese invasion, to the Communist victory in the Civil War in 1949. Michel Hockx introduces the historical and literary contexts of the various schools of vernacular poetry that developed throughout the period – the pioneers, formalists, symbolists, "peasants and soldiers" poets, and Shanghai poets of the late 1940s. Each selection of verse begins with a biographical sketch of the author’s life and literary career, including their roles in the Civil War and Japanese occupation. Introducing English readers to master poets who are virtually unknown to Western audiences, this anthology presents a collection of verse written in an age of struggle that attests to the courage, sensitivity, and imagination of the Chinese people.
“ The Flowering of Modern Chinese Poetry provides a comprehensive picture of the rise of modern poetry in vernacular Chinese and its first golden age from the 1910s to the 1940s. In both breadth and depth, this is arguably the best collection available in English to date, further enriched by the insightful introductions and informative biographies. An enjoyable read for anyone interested in understanding Chinese modernity through the lens of poetry.” Michelle Yeh, University of California, Davis
“ What makes The Flowering of Modern Chinese Poetry indispensable and unprecedented is its coverage: fifty of the most important Chinese poets of the first half of the twentieth century, several of them women. Neatly grouped into five separate divisions, the anthology allows both the novice and the expert to enjoy the founding moments of modern Chinese poetry in their full splendor as no previous book has done.” Christopher Lupke, University of Alberta