OUYANG JIANGHE (1956— ) - The Dictionary

Chinese Literature - Li-hua Ying 2010

The Dictionary

OUYANG JIANGHE (1956— ). Poet and poetry critic. Like many of the Generation III poets, Ouyang Jianghe grew up in Sichuan. He is from a military family and served for nine years in the army. Ouyang is deeply indebted to classical Chinese poetry, having committed to memory hundreds of poems. Prior to “Xuan guan” (Cliff Burials), published in 1985 and which he regards as the watershed in his career, his early poetry pays homage to his cultural heritage, with an emphasis on the dichotomy between Sichuan’s ancient shamanist heritage and centralized imperial power, as well as the interplay between modern and classical Chinese. The change after “Xuan guan” to contemporary themes without the weight of history opened for the poet an outlet to explore the relationship between word and object. “Shouqiang” (The Handgun), which brings into focus the temporal and conceptual quality of the physical entity, is representative of these later poems.

Ouyang’s view of poetics is articulated in Zhan zai xugou zhe bian (On the Side of Fabrication), a collection of essays on contemporary Chinese poetry, including critiques of Bei Dao and fellow Sichuanese poets Zhai Yongming and Bai Hua. Echoing American poet Wallace Stevens, Ouyang asserts that the highest form of reality can be achieved only through the intervention of creative agency and that poetry, because of its total dependence on the perception of the individual mind, contains more truth than any other genre.