Gu Cheng

b. 1956, Beijing; d. 1993
Poet
A major representative of Misty poetry (Menglong shi), Gu Cheng is known for his brilliant poetry and his controversial life. Gu Cheng worked as a swineherd in a remote part of Shandong province from 1969 to 1974. He began writing poems at the age of ten, but didn’t establish himself as an influential poet until 1979 with the publication of the series Nameless Flowers (Wuming de xiaohua). In 1987 he was invited to Europe and one year later to New Zealand, where he served as a visiting lecturer at the University of Auckland. But he later resigned and moved to live in a virtual hermitage on a desolate island. After killing his poet wife (Xie Ye), he committed suicide on 8 October 1993.
Best known for his numerous Menglong poems in many collections (i.e. The Moon in the Daylight (Baizhou de yueliang), Eyes of Darkness (Hei yanjing) and Allegorical Poems of Gu Cheng (Gu Cheng tonghua yuyan shixuan)), Gu always aimed at artistic simplicity and poetic purxity even at the sacrifice of clarity. He was at his best when he portrayed nature or created a world of fairy tale from a child’s perspective. His short poems, such as ‘This Generation’ (Yidairen) and ‘Far and Near’ (Yuan he jin), have since become the most often quoted lines and the representative of his poetry.
Gu also wrote essays and novels and even practised painting. His novel Ying’er was published posthumously in 1993.
Brady, Anne-Marie (1997). ‘Dead in Exile: The Life and Death of Gu Cheng and Xie Ye’. China Information 11.4 (Spring): 126–48.
Gu, Cheng (1998). ‘Far and Near’, ‘Good-bye’, ‘In Sunset’s Glow’, ‘In the Twinkling of the Eyes’, ‘The Origins of the Moon and Stars’ and ‘This Generation’. Trans. Gordon Osing and De-An Wu Swihart. Salt Hill 5.
Gu, Cheng and Lei, Mi (1995). Ying’er, The Kingdom of Daughters. Trans. Li Xia. Dortmund: Projekt Verlag.
Li, Xia (ed.) (1999). Essays, Interviews, Recollections and Unpublished Material of Gu Cheng, Twentieth Century Poet: The Poetics of Death. Lewiston: Mellon Press.
FU HONGCHU

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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