FENG ZHI, A.K.A. FENG CHI, PEN NAME OF FENG CHENZHI (1905—1993)
FENG ZHI, A.K.A. FENG CHI, PEN NAME OF FENG CHENZHI (1905—1993). Poet. Known for his sonnets, Feng Zhi was a meticulous stylist, a scholar-poet. His poems, mostly expressions of his inner thoughts, are philosophical in nature, no doubt affected by his postgraduate studies at the University of Heidelburg. A scholar of German literature, philosophy, and art, Feng favored works by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Rainer Maria Rilke, Søren Kierkegaard, and Friedrich Nietzsche, and existentialism particularly influenced his thinking.
Feng began writing poetry when he was a student at Beijing University in the early 1920s. His poems bear the marks of a strong influence by the May Fourth Movement. His first poetry collection, Zuori zhi ge (Songs of Yesterday), was published in 1927. From 1930 to 1935, while in Germany on a government scholarship, Feng put aside his creative work to concentrate on his Ph.D. studies. He resumed his literary career after he came back to China. Some of his best poems were written during this period. “Qi lu” (Strayed Path) is typical of his style: a meditative voice contained in a terse and compact form. Feng is well known for his sonnets modeled after the English genre. Besides poetry, Feng also wrote a large number of essays and two fictional works based on historical figures: Wu Zixu (Wu Zixu) and Du Fu zhuan (A Biography of Du Fu). He was also a noted translator of German literature.