Tag Archives: poetry

The five fingers of Chinese poetry

In a February blog post, Yao Dunlin compared five well-known contemporary Chinese poets to fingers:

  • Hai Zi (海子), the middle finger: The middle finger is the longest of the five, and Hai Zi was unquestionably the most poetically talented of these five individuals.
  • Yu Jian (于坚), the thumb: The thumb is short and thick, just like Yu Jian. But it is also the most powerful.
  • Yi Sha (伊沙), the little finger:  The little finger is the weakest of the five, just like Yi Sha has the least skilled qualifications of these five people. However, the little finger is often used for disdain, satire, mockery, and defiance. It is the crankiest, most stubborn, most dislikable, and showiest.
  • Xi Chuan (西川), the nameless finger: The nameless finger is the one that wears the ring, and without a doubt it is the most dignified of the five for fitting reasons. Yet the name “nameless” itself involves thought, philosophy, depth, and reason.
  • Bei Dao (北岛), the index finger: The index finger is the hero that “points to the mountains and rivers” and “sets people afire with words.” A hero ought to have a hero’s indomitability. This Bei Dao most certainly possesses. He is a unequivocally a genuine hero.

Via Yi Sha’s blog, which tends to repost anything that mentions his name, however briefly.