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Blue Aurora on the Snow Field (Excerpt)


Archive: 21st-Century Poets from China's Heilongjiang Province

Selection by the compiler Zhang Jingbo

Culture and Art Publishing House

Discussion on the Change and the Rise of Schools of Poetry from Heilongjiang Province

Author: Zhang Jingbo

When it comes to China's Heilongjiang Province, it is natural for every Chinese to come up with ice lanterns and ice sculptures, cities, village and other world all covered by the snow, snowflakes flying through the air, the Siberian cold current, Harbin——the capital of Heilongjiang Province——a city renowned for its ice-and-snow-covered landscape, the scene of St. Sophia Cathedral buried in the snow that sheds the solemn light extremely similar with that sending from Moscow's Red Square embracing the snowfall, the mysterious blue aurora in winter……

Spanning the Heilongjiang River no matter how cold the ice and snow weather is, Heilongjiang province is born as a silver-colored tundra like a white swan or red-crowned crane slowly waving its wings. It boasts the beautiful and prosperous white mountain and black water, vast wastelands and swamps with their endless boundary, ancient forests with luxuriant vegetation, broad oil fields and coal mines in the open air, tall and straight cedar and white birch, the hustle and bustle of ports, villages scattering among fields, soybeans and sorghum all over mountain……

Heilongjiang, a swan-shaped black land, where the pioneering founder left their footprints and the path breaker sowed seeds, has been passing for the inheritor the torch that flares unceasingly. Winding along the national boundary, the Heilongjiang River feeds bright flowery on both banks with full of vitality and vigor, breeds azalea flower with delicate fragrance and borderless wheat fields, cultivates the unique culture from the black land, the ethnic culture, the culture of national boundary and Soviet Russia culture. Certainly, it also nurtures wreaths weaved by the poetry from this land and the splendor showed by colorful and varied lives.

Since the People's Republic of China (P.R.C.) was founded, the whole black land has witnessed senior poets' deep footsteps during their arduous journey.

While two famous writers from Heilongjiang knocked open the door of Vast North Wilds, Lin Yu with his novel Wild Geese Flying in North China and Zhong Tao with his novel Landmark of the Prairie. On the same land, under the same sky, poetry of Vast North Wilds is recording the memorable evolvement and epitome of the same period like cutting a CD. Vast North Wilds is not less than a wonder land for it is the birthplace of two epic novels——Blizzard Tonight and Snow City——which were all created by the well-known author Liang Xiaosheng. Except for fighting against the severe environment, residents of this land also harvest poetry born in the land, just as reaping soybeans, corns and sorghum. In 1960s, Yan Chen, an aged poet, came to Heilongjiang for enriching his life experience so as to improve his creation. During the travel, his collections of poems——Red Bank and Poems of Rosy Clouds were published. The Next decade, another famous poet Li Ying produced several collections of poems including Northern Frontier Red as Fire when she stuck around Vast North Wilds. Among the poets with the background of Vast North Wilds, Wang Shuhuai is one of the first generation since the establishment of P.R.C. Wang, on an equal footing with He Jingzhi, Guo Xiaochuan, Wen Jie and other star poets renowned in the literary world, became the critical evidence for the literary circle of Heilongjiang sharing the same resonant frequency with the world of Chinese contemporary literature. There is no doubt that Wang Shuhuai, as the predecessor of Heilongjiang, deserves such high evaluation, since he dedicated himself to depicting his native land. During only 55 years of his life time, Wang published more than a dozen of selections of poems such as Song of Birch Forest, Song of Bao Shan, Poems of Crop Fields, Poems of Troubadours, which mainly emerged in 1950s and 60's. These poetry works not only promoted the entrepreneurial spirit, but also witnessed the rise and decline of Vast North Wilds. In the years of burning passion, it is those poets who were eager to seek publicity and unwilling to degrade on this wasteland once affected with lethargy that left over unforgettable and appealing poems. Poetry of Vast North Wilds made the culture of Northeast China more meaningful and profound, among which, including Vast North Wilds by Lu Qi, Extracts from Poems from Yun Shan Farm by Xiao Yingjun, Collection of Poems during Land Reclamation by Lu Weiran, Girls of Vast North Wilds by Cai Bin, Night of Blizzard by Zhong Liu and works of Qin Feng and other poets, also had to live up with the less-developed productivity and poor condition, transform the surrounding and make the exploitation with their own physical activities, thus became a witness to go through the ups and downs. Same as the printmaking made in Vast North Wilds, poetry of Vast North Wilds originates from the gene of this black land that has the desolate, forceful, diversified, simple and pure character. However, these poems have inevitably a clear mark at that age due to the impact on trends of political thoughts.

In the new era of reform and opening up, poets from Heilongjiang, with their distinctive local features and "blowout-like" passion, have held the flag of their poetry highly floating above the field of poetry all around China.

After a decade of Cultural Revolution, the moor of literature was gradually changing from those chief types of music in traditional Chinese operas that revived by the revolutionary model opera, shaking off the visual experience and cognition restricted to a single orientation by those "leaflet-style poem". Those grown up with the politicized culture background began to find their way back to human nature and desire for the enlightenment of humanism. If one had revisited the land unfreezing and recovering little by little, he will have found himself in a world with unprecedented vitality ready for takeoff at any time. Once reflecting and running away from the shadow of "Scar Literature", poets from Heilongjiang, with their "blowout-like" passion, start with attentively feeling the pulse of the times, thus demonstrate and chant the praises of innocence of the black land.

Poetry from the black land (along with the black water) by no means increases the character of intrepid like the Northeast Tiger for the poetry world of Heilongjiang.

Pang Zhuangguo, a poet with strong Heilongjiang's local characteristics and dialect popular in the east of Shanhaiguan, created quite a stir in the poetry world of Northeast China by his The 12th Month of the East Shanhaiguan. In Pang's poetry land, the culture and folk customs with a strong flavor of the East Shanhaiguan lay the foundation of poems so as to present or illustrate ethnic customs, fairy tales, and the history of North China. Pang strives for "Renaissance" of the cultural essence, seeks to demonstrate a strong awareness of history and aesthetic appreciation of the reality by developing potential values from life experience and common wisdom. On one hand, with the realistic background of the unique white mountain and black water bearing the desolate, magnificent, uncultivated character and the natural setup of snow field, villages and cities covered by the snow, rivers, swamps, mountains, several excellent works of poets from Heilongjiang, especially Tang Yuanfeng's Work Song of the Wasteland, Dao Zi's Poem of My Dream for the Arctic Village, Han Zuorong's Silent White Birch Forest, A Lu's God of Poem· Heilongjiang, Han Xinggui's Far East, Ma Yongbo's Fir, Wang Changjun's Eye of the Dragon, Zheng Jianqiao's Echoes of Countless Centuries, Bao Yubing's One Hundred Poems of the Forest, Pan Xichen's Ice Lanterns of Harbin, Wen Qianyi's Love in Vast North Wilds, Luo Kai's The Virgin Water·Rivers of North China, Pan Yongxiang's Back to Home, Lv Tianlin's Caprice of Snow Flakes, Xu Xiaoyang's Black God, Wang Xiaochan's The Black Land·a Nationality of the Wasteland, He Sai's Ode to the Senior, follow the track of the poet's thought to extend the rough, masculine, forceful, fantastic, vigorous and splendid styles of North China. On the other hand, through the poet's reflection and exploiting the legendary glamor of the special regional culture of the black land in North China, these poems blew the Northeast China-style wind as strong as the real blizzard wind and blowing snow. Besides, the works of poetess for North China, such as Li Qi's I Stand in the North, Sail·Mast, Lu Shaoping's Lyrics of Guitar, Wang Xueying's Siren, Feng Yan's Journey to the Thorn City, Dan Ni's Late Arrival to the Small Station, Pan Hongli's Suppose Read Your Mind, Xue Cun's Snow Country, show exquisite, gentle, fresh meaningful poetic beauty that specially belongs to the woman poet from multiple viewing angles, which reclaimed a poetry field of maternal instinct and joined into the grand chorus of poetry field in North China.

A quiet upsurge in campus poetry became a unique phenomenon of a campaign in poetry which exclusively rising in China's high schools of 1980s. In the summer of

1984, as the fever of campaign in campus poetry spreading in the whole China and evolved, Pan Xichen and Yang Chuanqing, who won the "Running Horse Award" sponsored by the Green Wind Poetry, set up their own publication——Poetry of the College Student. A number of famous writers and poets were invited as the consultant of the publication, among whom included Guan Monan, Liang Nan, Man Rui, Wu Yue, Lu Weiran, Liu Changyuan, Lin Zi, Zhong Liu, Ba Yanbu, Chen Hao, Huang Yiyong, Li Beikai, Xiao Yingjun, Zhang Hua, Nie Zhenbang. The birth of Poetry of the College Student is a significant symbol for the campus poetry from Heilongjiang has grown into maturity. In Nov. 1985, Virgin Island, poems that describe the secondary school students and reflect contemporary mental outlook of campus, published in succession and soon developed as the navigation mark for the gold seashore of campuses in Heilongjiang.

When Shi Lin Poetry was founded, poets from Heilongjiang and even those from other parts of Northeast China were provided a showpiece and platform for exchanging works. In 1984, Literature of Harbin was renamed Fiction Series.

l 【Profile of the poet Sha Bihong】 Sha Bihong, a poetess, graduated from Heilongjiang University with a major in Chinese Language & Culture in 1986. With the main works including Homelessness (novel), Send a Boat To the Dreams (poems), Dictionary of Appreciation on China Ancient Poems and Lyrics (co-authored dictionary), Remembrance of the Days in Germany (co-authored prose) as well as Grasp the Dream Hand, True Love for This Life, I'm Not a Lamb and other scripts, Sha currently acts as a professional director and independent producer, the chairman of Shashi Film & Television Corporation.

Inside of the Fruitless Love

by Sha Bihong


Like ten thousands of arrows through one's heart,

is there anything else bitter than that?

I saw a woman

running down the red tears.

Only the woman folk knows

that's her heart is bloodying.

If only your heart was made of the glass,

it would be broken to pieces when someone broke it.

If only your tears were made of the dew,

it would disappeared when the love hurt it.

In that case,

No matter how ruthlessly trample on your feeling,

You will feel nothing.

So, I gently stroked your hair

and told you: cry as much as you like.

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