He Jingzhi

(a.k.a.Ai Mo/Jing Zhi)
b. 1924, Yixian, Shangdong
Writer, poet
He Jingzhi finished his secondary school in 1937. In 1940 he entered the Lu Xun Literary Institute in Yan’an and joined the CCP. He then worked briefly in the Lun Xun Art Troupe before teaching in the College of Literature at the United University of North China in 1946. His writing career began in 1945 when he co-authored China’s first realistic Geju (song-drama), The White-Haired Girl (Baimao Nü), with Ding Yi and Ma Ke. In 1961 his Collection of Singing Heartily (Fangge ji) was published. Poems like ‘Back to Yan’an’ (Hui Yan’an), ‘Sing Heartily’ (Fang sheng ge chang) and ‘Songs at the San Men Gorge’ (Sanmen xiafangge) made him ‘the poet of the time’. The year 1963 saw the release of his ‘Ode to Lei Feng’ (Lei Feng zhi ge), which impacted a generation. He Jingzhi’s Selected Poems (He Jingzhi shixuan, 1979) collects his best pieces over four decades.
Politically charged and timely, many of his poems may not endure. However they do reflect the poet’s creativity, vigour and grandiosity. He could be lyrical and dainty as well, as in his ‘Ode to the Beauty of Guilin’s Landscape’ (Guilin shanshui ge), the originality of which lies in his dexterous integration of folk and regional traditions with the borrowed style of free verse. A board member of the Chinese Writers’ Association and the Chinese Dramatists’ Association, He Jingzhi was Deputy and then Acting Minister of Culture from 1989 through 1992.

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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