LUO FU, A.K.A. LO FU, PEN NAME OF MO LUOFU (1928— ) - The Dictionary

Chinese Literature - Li-hua Ying 2010

The Dictionary

LUO FU, A.K.A. LO FU, PEN NAME OF MO LUOFU (1928— ). Poet and essayist. Born in Hengyang, Hunan Province, Luo Fu joined the army during the Sino-Japanese War (1937—1945) and moved to Taiwan with the Nationalist government. He graduated from the English Department of Tamkang University, and in the 1950s Luo Fu and his friends Zhang Mo and Ya Xian founded Xin shiji (New Epoch), a poetry journal that had a lasting influence on Taiwan’s literary development. A central figure in the modernist movement in Taiwan, and winner of many awards including the National Award for Literature and Art of Taiwan, Luo Fu is a prolific writer, having published more than a dozen collections of poetry and several collections of prose and critical essays, as well as many translations. In his early career, Luo Fu was a surrealist influenced by the French modernists, especially Charles Baudelaire, Arthur Rimbaud, Paul Valéry, and Guillaume Apollinaire. He was also fond of the work by Wallace Stevens, in whose verses Luo Fu found a kindred spirit. He was fascinated by Rainer Maria Rilke, whose profound religious sensibility influenced his own work; Luo Fu has acknowledged his debt to the German poet, pointing out that one of his early poems, “Shi shi zhi siwang” (Death in a Stone Cell), and his recent epic poem “Piao mu” (Driftwood) have traces of Rilke in them. In Luo Fi’s more recent work, there emerges a new sense of clarity and serenity, much of which has to do with his rediscovery of the Chinese poetic tradition, which allows the poet to tap into those great resources as he continues to innovate and perfect his art.

In 1996, Luo Fu moved to Vancouver, Canada. This new environment has inspired him to explore fresh territories with regard to the meaning and essence of life. “Piao mu,” composed during this period, is an intimate look at his personal life as an expatriate and a drifter, first from the mainland to Taiwan and then from Taiwan to Canada. It is also an expression of his artistic aspirations as well as his outlook on life. Luo Fu is a master of the Chinese language, a skilled linguistic magician. Having written many mesmerizing verses, Luo Fu has been called “a poetry wizard.”