Under the title “None the verse” (a headline I first found lame, but after a bit more reflection find reveals something interesting about Xi Chuan’s writing) is another China Daily article on Xi Chuan and his career in poetry. It took me so long to find it because it refers to Xi Chuan, inexplicably, as “Xichuan,” but it offers a decent overview of the changes of his work and quotes translations by Maghiel van Crevel (unattributed; go figure), and ends with a decent discussion about the Xi Chuan’s understanding of the place of poetry in China and the world today:
Although Xichuan admits that the Chinese have almost forgotten poetry in their pursuit of material success, he is continuing his explorations as a serious intellectual trying “to influence the quality of life in China in an indirect way”.
One of these experiments is a drama adapted from his long poem Flowers in the Mirror and the Moon on the Water in collaboration with Chinese avant-garde director Meng Jinghui. Xichuan was pleased to see that its non-traditional structure made people think from a post-modernism perspective, an approach they were unfamiliar with in the past. “Even if they felt uncomfortable, it was an important social effect,” he says.
“I have to acknowledge that the past decade has been unfavorable for Chinese poets, but they have far transcended themselves, in terms of new expression, sophisticated rhetoric, and greater growth and solidity.”