Gu Cheng

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Gu Cheng
Born (1956-09-24)September 24, 1956
Beijing, China
Died October 8, 1993(1993-10-08) (aged 37)
Ostend, Waiheke Island, Auckland, New Zealand
Occupation Poet, essayist, novelist
Literary movement Misty Poets, modernism
Plaque in New York

Gu Cheng (simplified Chinese: 顾城; traditional Chinese: 顧城; September 24, 1956 – October 8, 1993) was a famous Chinese modern poet, essayist and novelist. He was a prominent member of the "Misty Poets", a group of Chinese modernist poets.

Biography[edit]

Gu Cheng was the son of a prominent party member. His father was the army poet Gu Gong. At the age of twelve, his family was sent to rural Shandong because of the Cultural Revolution (as means of re-education) where they bred pigs. There, he claimed to have learned poetry directly from nature.

In the late 1970s, Cheng became associated with the journal Today (Jintian) which began a movement in poetry known as "menglong" meaning "hazy", "obscure". He became an international celebrity and travelled around the world accompanied by his wife, Xie Ye. The two settled in Rocky Bay, a small village on Waiheke Island, Auckland, New Zealand in 1987. Cheng taught Chinese at the University of Auckland in the City of Auckland.

In October 1993, Gu Cheng attacked his wife with an axe before hanging himself. She died later on the way to a hospital. The story of his death was widely covered in the Chinese media.[1]

"A Generation"[edit]

The two-line poem titled "A Generation" ("一代人") was perhaps Gu Cheng's most famous contribution to contemporary Chinese literature. It had been considered an accurate representation of the younger generation during the Chinese Cultural Revolution seeking knowledge and future.

Even with these dark eyes, a gift of the dark night
I go to seek the shining light.

黑夜给了我黑色的眼睛
我却用它寻找光明

Further reading[edit]

  • Chinese Writers on Writing featuring Gu Cheng. Ed. Arthur Sze. (Trinity University Press, 2010).
  • Sea of Dreams: Selected Writings of Gu Cheng translated and edited by Joseph Allen. (New Directions: 2005)

External links[edit]

  • [1] Prólogo al libro Cuatro Poetas Suicidas Chinos (Cinosargo 2013- Trad. Wilfredo Carrizales)
  • [2] Crítica de Leonardo Sanhueza al libro Cuatro Poetas Suicidas Chinos (Cinosargo 2013)
  • [3] Crítica de Alberto Hernández al libro Cuatro Poetas Suicidas Chinos (Cinosargo 2013) en Letralia