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Verse Going Viral

China's New Media Scenes

by Heather Inwood

Publication Year: 2014

Published by: University of Washington Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-iv


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-2

Like any book, this one has been on a journey and many people have helped it along the way. I would like to thank all the poetry scene participants in China who kindly provided me with mountains of research materials and made this project feasible. They include A Xiang, An Qi, Bei Ta, Duoyu, Fu Mahuo, Huang Lihai, Jiang Hao, Lao Chao, Li Shaojun, Pidan, Shen Haobo, Shi Zhongren, Tan Kexiu, Tang Xiaodu, Wang Mingyun, Xie Youshun, Xu Jiang, Xu Xiangchou, Yang...

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pp. 3-44

Modern Chinese poetry can often seem like a bundle of contradictions. On the one hand, many Chinese people take pride in belonging to a “nation of poetry” (shi de guodu or shiguo) whose written poetic history can be traced well over two thousand years to the Shijing (Book of Songs), supposedly compiled by Confucius himself. This is a country that boasts such poet greats as Li Bai, Du Fu, Li Qingzhao, and, in the twentieth century, the almost equally revered Xu Zhimo, ...

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Chapter 1 - Poetry on the Web

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pp. 45-80

Most commentators agree that the development of the Internet had the single biggest impact on Chinese poetry activity in the first decade of the twenty-first century. According to typical narratives, the web injected much-needed life into poetry, rescuing it from the wilderness years of the 1990s, a time when more commercialized forms of culture were squeezing it from public view. As the poetry critic Li Xia described in 2004, “The Internet has brought the world into a new ...

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Chapter 2 - Poetry in Print

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pp. 81-114

Although the Internet has become the biggest and most versatile space for poetry production and interaction in the new millennium, printed texts have retained a unique ability to capture the imagination and stir the ambitions of Chinese poets. Poems that are first posted online are later sorted through and selected for inclusion in poetry journals, single-author collections, and anthologies. Less well-known poets make their work available in print through self-financed publications....

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Chapter 3 - Poetry on the Stage

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pp. 115-151

Activities that take place face-to-face and “in the flesh” have played a central role in the development of post-Mao modern poetry in mainland China. From the salons and open-air recitals organized by the Today group in the late 1970s and early 1980s to the proliferation of poetry recitals held in cafés and bars in the 1990s and turn-of-the-millennium large-scale gatherings like the Panfeng Meeting, face-to-face...

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Chapter 4 - Poetry in the News

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pp. 152-183

In late 2010, a little-known poet and businessman by the name of Nie Shebo posted an article on his Sina blog titled “Dangdai shige ‘shi’ bing” (The “ten” diseases of contemporary poetry). In a disdainful tone and with copious use of quotation marks around words such as “poems” and “poets,” Nie holds forth on the ailments plaguing Chinese poetry in the twenty-first century: flattery, lofty speech, high-speed composition, elitism, unproductive vagrancy (a result of...

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pp. 184-196

I began this book by suggesting that modern poetry in China finds itself in a uniquely paradoxical situation. Written off by many journalists, netizens, and critics as hopelessly marginalized and out of touch with contemporary reality, it somehow manages to cling to some of its allure as the epitome of Chinese cultural achievement and the favored literary activity of many of the nation’s elites. There are four possible...

Appendix: Poetry Survey Question

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pp. 197-198

Glossary of Chinese Terms

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pp. 199-210


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pp. 211-230


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pp. 231-256


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pp. 257-266

E-ISBN-13: 9780295805108
E-ISBN-10: 0295805102
Print-ISBN-13: 9780295993690
Print-ISBN-10: 0295993693

Publication Year: 2014

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Chinese poetry -- 21st century -- Criticism and interpretation.
  • Literature and society -- China.
  • Digital media -- China.
  • Popular culture -- China.
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