DUO DUO, PEN NAME OF SU SHIZHENG (1951— ) - The Dictionary

Chinese Literature - Li-hua Ying 2010

The Dictionary

DUO DUO, PEN NAME OF SU SHIZHENG (1951— ). Poet. Born and raised in Beijing, Duo Duo spent two years in rural Hebei during the Cultural Revolution. As one of the main Misty poets, Duo Duo has gone through many changes in his life and in his art. A founding member of the Today group, along with Bei Dao and Mang Ke, Duo Duo rose to fame in the 1980s but was forced to leave China in June 1989 when the Chinese government cracked down on the Tian’anmen Prodemocracy Movement with which Duo Duo was associated. Fifteen years later, however, he was not only allowed to return to China to live and teach, but the official Xinhua News Agency honored him with its 2004 Poet of the Year Award.

Duo Duo’s poetic style has also undergone several changes, from the terse and cryptic political verse of his early career to the prosaic philosophical lines in recent years. His early experimental poems, such as “Mi zhou” (Honey Week) and “Zhi taiyang” (To the Sun), written in the 1970s and 1980s, are considered important pieces in the underground poetry movement, both in terms of style and vision. His later poems, particularly those written in the 1990s, such as “Guo hai” (Crossing the Sea), “Tamen” (They), and “Guilai” (Homecoming), while consistent with the poet’s love for symbols and imageries, pay more attention to the exploration of the mysteries of life. Many years of living in the West have left deep imprints on his poetry. He has dealt with the theme of exile and alienation and, more important, his sojourn exposed him to poetic traditions that have produced prominent poets such as Charles Baudelaire, Sylvia Plath, and others who have influenced his work. Written exclusively in Chinese, Duo Duo’s poems have been translated into many languages.