Gu Cheng 1956-1993

One of the well-known 'Misty' poets. The son of the army-poet Gu Gong, he spent four years in a remote part of Shandong province during the Cultural Revolution. Despite (or because of) his celebrity, his first collection of poetry Hei yanjing [Eyes of darkness] was not published until 1986. From the mid-1980s, his work became increasingly experimental and he eschewed the brilliant lyricism and complex metaphoric textures of his early phase. He wrote several extended cycles or suites including Bulin dang'an [The Bulin file], Songge shijie [Eulogy worlds] and Shuiyin [Quicksilver]. He committed suicide after killing his wife Xie Ye in New Zealand in 1993. The posthumous 'novel' Ying'er, translated into English under the same title, deals with his life outside China.

Works available in English:

  • Nameless flowers: selected poems by Gu Cheng (Aaron Crippen). New York, N.Y.: George Braziller, 2005.
  • Selected Poems by Gu Cheng (ed. by Seán Golden and Chu Chiyu). Hong Kong:
       Renditions Paperbacks, 1990.
  • Ying'er: The Kingdom of Daughters (Li Xia). Dortmund: Projeckt Verlag, 1995.

    Studies and Biographies:

  • Li Xia, Essays, interviews, recollections and unpublished material of Gu Cheng,
       20th century Chinese poet: the poetics of death
    . Lewiston: Edwin Mellen Press, 1999.