ZHENG CHOUYU, A.K.A. CHENG CH’OU-YU, PEN NAMES OF ZHENG WENTAO (1933— )
ZHENG CHOUYU, A.K.A. CHENG CH’OU-YU, PEN NAMES OF ZHENG WENTAO (1933— ). Poet. Born to a military family in Ji’nan, Shandong Province, Zheng Chouyu moved to Taiwan with his family in 1949. After college, he worked at the Port of Jilong while pursuing his writing career. His poetry caught the attention of Ji Xian, who invited him to join the Modern Poetry Society. Zheng left Taiwan in 1968 at the invitation of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa, where he received his M.A. He taught Chinese literature at Yale University from 1973 until his retirement. Zheng is known as a lyrical poet with the sensibility of a romantic wanderer, which he attributed to the trajectory of his life. His mastery of the Chinese language has also garnered widespread praises. “Cuowu” (Mistake), a love poem written in 1954, best captures his sense of rhythm and his ability to express the delicate moods and feelings of a man on a journey away from home. While Zheng is celebrated for his graceful and restrained style in dealing with subtle personal feelings, he is equally at home with conveying bold and unconstrained emotions. Zheng is a prolific poet and among his many poetry collections are Yibo (Legacy), Yanren xing (Journey of a Northerner), and Jimo de ren zuo zhe kan hua (A Seated Man of Solitude Views Flowers). Zheng sees his poetry as an expression of Confucian humanism, Taoist belief in the natural world, and the Buddhist practice of compassion. See also MODERN POETRY MOVEMENT IN TAIWAN.