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Xi Murong: Poets and poetry never die

(CRI Online)

09:05, July 23, 2013

Chinese poet Xi Murong (file photo)

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There's been a renewal of interest in poetry at this year's Hong Kong Book Fair following the appearance of renowned Chinese poet Xi Murong.

Xi Murong is the most honored guest speaker at this year's Hong Kong book fair.

During her lecture, the 70-year-old poet reads two of her best-known poems, one of which is her poem from the 1980s titled "A Blossoming Tree."

"How can we meet
at the most beautiful hours
which I have prayed
for the five hundred years
A tree thus he made me
by the path you passed...

Poet, essayist, and painter, Xi Murong was born in Chongqing in southwest China. But she spent her childhood in Hong Kong and then moved to Taiwan with her family.

It was in the 1980s and early 90s, she became a well-established poet after publishing several collections of poetry including Seven-li Scent and Unregrettable Youth.

At the same time many other popular Chinese poets, including Hai Zi, Gu Cheng, Bei Dao and Shu Ting flourished, and reading poems became a fashion.

However, in the past decade or so, poetry gradually drifted away from people's lives and very few new poets have been heard.

At the annual Hong Kong Book Fair some readers admit they rarely read poems, though they like poetry.

College student Miss Chen shares why she thinks poetry is fading from contemporary culture.

"In our society, people, in most of the cases, live a fast-paced life, thus, there isn't much space available for them to meditate. People who want to write poems might not be able to afford the time to organize their thoughts. People who want to read poem might not have the luxury to relax and enjoy a good poem."

Another reader, 71-year-old Miss Wang, blames education for people's diminishing interest in poetry.

"I think it's about education. The current education focuses on making money, and has forgotten about literature. There's no soil for poets to grow."

But the question remains, do we still need poems? Many readers at the book fair agree that poetry, like other literature forms, is a comfort to people's minds, and shouldn't be abandoned.

"I think we need poems. They can appease us."

"We need them for sure, because poems can express your deep feelings and thought, they are beautiful and should live on forever. It will be a pity if they suspend growing."

Meanwhile, as a poet Xi Murong reminds people that many poets in China are still writing poems, including herself.

She stresses poetry is a niche market for a small number of people, and not for everyone. However, poets and poetry never disappear.

"Poets never vanish. There are poets at any times of history. Sometimes poets might have bigger influence at this age, and have lesser influence at another age. But as someone once said, writing poems is a natural drive of humans, so is reading poems. Therefore, poetry never dies."

This year's Hong Kong book fair lasts for one week, and will end on July 23rd.

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