Zhou Yaping & J. H. Prynne

Nowhere-ManXiucai Zheng has published some of the first correspondence between Original 原样 poet Zhou Yaping 周亚平 and J H Prynne of the Cambridge School, excerpted from Original: Chinese Language-Poetry Group, a special edition of Parataxis: Modernism and Modern Writing 7 [1995]. Get a load of this. From Zhou:

It must be pointed out that the language experiments we are pursuing, after much passionate labour, have been welcomed by a fairly large circle. Not by the authorities, on the contrary by the freedom and choice of those friends who are even younger than ourselves. We, the quick and chaotic metamorphosis and the happy principle in the course of metamorphosis, enjoy the abundant trust they grant us. When our solid work and resolution are regarded by some real cheats as a mockery, these friends have never felt hesitation or disappointment simply because they cannot spot in our poetry the elements that critics think poets should imitate. An uncompromising form of art will become increasingly well-developed and exquisite, whose revolutionary thoroughness cannot be attained by politics or anything connected with politics. All will have to go through the hands of poets.

From Prynne:

To prevent the leakage of energy into pre-determined frames of control, several ancient Chinese traditions of wit, scepticism and cantilevered invention have been brought into newly explored relations with western iconography and the art-slogans of selfhood. Not only the ellipsis of lyric epigram but also the exuberance of the fu or rhyme-prose join up with the frequently deflected currents of Chinese poetic experiment in the twentieth century; here, to centralise the contingent via its force for total candour, or ‘to drive out all lyricism’ by rapid cross-talk and studious hooliganism. Or indeed, both at once. All this is likewise also decoy manoeuvre, reclaiming the margins by transferring their negligence back into spirited invention. There is a running stream half-visible alongside, but for those not tuned into these features the interplay of this writing in its English form can still provoke analogous recognitions. ‘The world is small’ opined Confucius, standing on top of Mount Snowdon and chewing a banana. The English text can disclose to the English reader one truly essential feature: this writing moves about its native element with a good deal of unusual compression and exhilaration but it is not exotic. This is the language of a world, not a fancied ping-pong utopia, and its living currency is what makes abstraction and invention into such considered forms of daring

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