YA XIAN, A.K.A. YA HSIEN, PEN NAME FOR WANG QINGLIN (1932— )
YA XIAN, A.K.A. YA HSIEN, PEN NAME FOR WANG QINGLIN (1932— ). Poet. Born in Nanyang, Henan Province, Ya Xian, which means “mute strings,” joined the Nationalist army in 1949 right before it retreated to Taiwan. He participated in the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa and received his master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He edited the literary supplement of the United Daily in Taipei. He rose to fame in the 1950s, at a time of political oppression by Chiang Kai-shek’s government, and continued to lead a productive career through the next two decades. Part of a modernist movement, Ya Xian’s poetry bears evidence of a strong influence by European surrealism, with its heavy emphasis on allusion, metaphor, irony, and symbolism. Some of his poems, such as “Ru ge de xingban” (An Andante Ballad), “Yindu” (India), “Zai Zhonguo jie shang” (In the Streets of China), which are modernist reconstructions of folk ballads, make references to dreams and the subconscious, allowing the poet to move at will between the real and imagined world in order to reach an aesthetic realm beyond rationality and language.