Designed to introduce students to the pleasure of reading modern Chinese poetry, this course will also allow us to understand how the poetic imagination evolved in twentieth-century China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. We will read a broad selection of poetry from across the last one hundred years, including works by some of the iconic poets, such as Wen Yiduo, Yu Kwang-chung, and Bei Dao. We will study poetry in translation as well as in the original language. In the process, we will discuss varying themes, emotions, and formal innovations. We will also experiment with translating modern Chinese poetry into English, maybe even with writing our own poems!
To help us better appreciate the poetic texts under discussion, we will read a limited number of essays that provides relevant background information or specific analyses.
This course will not only present a unique perspective on the development of modern Chinese literature and culture, but also further develop students’ language skills. Students who have the equivalent of fourth-year Chinese will find this course helpful in consolidating their reading comprehension. We will see how modern poetry both draws on and influences everyday language.
There will be a series of small reading and translation exercises throughout the semester. Working with the instructor, students will translate and annotate selected texts for their midterm and final projects.
Grading and Assignments:
Class attendance and participation (10%)
Reading and translation exercises (40%)
Mid-term project (20%)
Final project (30%)