Asia Society Hongkong Launch of Ouyang Jianghe’s Phoenix

August 8: Evening Poetry Reading and Discussion

Drinks Reception at 6:30 pm
Reading & Discussion at 7:00 pm
Close at 8:00 pm
Asia Society Hongkong

Ouyang Jianghe 欧阳江河 will read from his ekphrastic mini-epic Phoenix 凤凰, with poet Nicolas Wong reading Austin Woerner’s English translation. A discussion on the relationship between Ouyang’s writing and its inspiration in the sculpture by Xu Bing 徐冰 will follow.

From Woerner’s preface to the translation:

The poem multiplies the complexity of his earlier poems; it is, by his own account, his magnum opus. Synthesizing his earlier concerns of the materiality of language, the Chinese literary legacy, and the role of art in society into a sustained meditation on the theme of flight, it reflects two and a half decades of work refining the “obscure” language of Misty poetry into a vessel for sophisticated philosophical inquiry. The poem, written by Ouyang in 2010 after a silence of almost two decades, is the culmination of his experiment, where in the eighties and nineties he produced a body of poems distinguished by their length, technical intricacy, and high degree of abstraction. He has, in his recent work, taken this project to a new level, writing book-length poems of densely interlinked stanzas rife with wordplay, a fugue-like development of motifs, and the technique of argument by paradox — known in Chinese as beilun (悖論) — employed by the philosopher Zhuangzi (莊子) to capture the illogical logic of Daoism.

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