Guo Lusheng

(a.k.a. ‘Indexfinger’/Shizhi)
b. 1948, Shandong
Poet
Guo Lusheng is a prominent poet and voice of the zhiqing generation (educated urban youth sent to the countryside) during and after the Cultural Revolution. After he had briefly joined the Red Guards, his poetry was denounced as bourgeois and he became an underground poet until he resurfaced under the pseudonym ‘Indexfinger’ after the Cultural Revolution.
His representative poems of the early period, notably This is Beijing at 4.08 p.m.’ (Zhe shi sidianlingbafenzhong de Beijing), ‘Three Songs on Fish’ (Yu’er sanbuqu) and ‘To Believe in the Future’ (Xiangxin weilai), were, at the time, the only expressions of the traumatic experiences of the sent-down youth and still form a perceptive critique. After the Cultural Revolution, Guo Lusheng began a new period of creativity under his pseudonym. His earlier representative poems were published anew, while he also wrote for various magazines as part of the Misty poetry group. Diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1973, his illness unwittingly made him the first poet to make the disquiet of mental illness and institutionalization a topic of writing in the 1990s. Although his referential poetry is not great, Guo Lusheng’s engagement exerted tremendous influence in literary circles. During the 1990s, as memories of the zhiqing generation become more public, he once again became an icon of a whole generation of displaced youths and consequently won the -People’s Literature Prize for Poetry in 2001.
BIRGIT LINDER

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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