Power to the People? Heather Inwood on Contemporary Chinese Poetry at HKU


This paper adopts a cultural studies lens to examine the often fraught relationship between China’s poetry scenes and members of the public, exploring key media dynamics and social practices that shape the writing, publication, and reception of modern Chinese poetry in the age of the Internet. I argue that so-called “new media” have also enabled new means of literary gatekeeping, whereby poets and the general public alike adopt participatory strategies for deciding what is and is not a poem. Such strategies have interesting implications for poets’ often-stated desire to continue opening poetry up to the masses, as well as for widespread assumptions about the democratizing potential of the Internet.

Heather Inwood is Lecturer of Modern Chinese Cultural Studies at the University of Manchester, where she teaches classical Chinese language and literature, modern Chinese literature, and contemporary Chinese popular culture and media. Her research focuses on interactions between contemporary Chinese literature, culture, and media. Her first book, Verse Going Viral: China’s New Media Scenes, was published by the University of Washington Press in 2014.

Date and Time: June 24, 2014 (Tuesday); 5:30-6:45 p.m.
Venue: Room 730, Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus, University of Hong Kong

All are welcome