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At the Crossroads of Culture: The Intersection of Interlanguage, Residual Modernism, and Nomadic Hybridity in Bei Dao an...


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AT THE CROSSROADS OF CULTURE: THE INTERSECTION OF INTERLANGUAGE, RESIDUAL MODERNISM, AND NOMADIC HYBRIDITY IN BEI DAO AND EZRA POUNDS MODERNIST POETICS BY JAMES INNIS MCDOUGALL A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2003

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Copyright 2003 by James Innis McDougall

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iii ACKNOWLEDGMENTS T h a n k s to whose love and support helped me to unloc k these words.

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iv TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNO W L E D G MEN T S.iii A B STRACT...v CHAPTER 1 I N TRODUC T I ON ..1 2 AR R I V A L S A ND DEPARTURES 3 MODER N I S T I N T E R L A N GUAGE ...12 4 RE S I DU A L M O D ER N I S M .16 5 O B SER V I NG PE R F ORMANCE... ..23 6 NOMA D I C H Y B R I D I TY ...31 7 CON C L U S I O N ...37 L I ST O F RE F ERENCES .................................................................................................. 38 B I OGRAP H I C A L SKE T CH ............................................................................................ 45

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v Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts AT THE CROSSROADS OF CULTURE: THE INTERSECTION OF INTERLANGUAGE, RESIDUAL MODERNISM, AND NOMADIC HYBRIDITY IN BEI DAO AND EZRA POUNDS MODERNIST POETICS By James McDougall May 2003 Chair: Marsha B r y a nt Major Department: English The main thrust of this thesis is answering the question: when poets attempt to use voices and styles outside of their immediate cultural location, what sense can we make out of the cultural artifact that they produce? To answer this question the imagist poetry of Ezra Pound as well as the misty poetry of Bei Dao are both investigated, concentrating on the cross-cultural aspects of their poetry. The paper takes three different approaches to analyze the way that cross-cultural material is used in poetry: interlanguage, residual modernism, and nomadic hybridity. As such linguistic, literary, and cultural studies are employed to show how poetry challenges the boundaries of a national aesthetic and participates in redefining what those boundaries might mean.

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1 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Bei Dao and Ezra Pound make good subjects for re-evaluating theories of crosscultural appropriationa topic fraught with political implicationsbecause both have written poetry questioning concepts of foreign and national to the extent that their poetry serves an indexical function, marking aesthetic changes in literary modernism. Their lives, too, as ex-patriots and exiles, have established each poet as representative figures of twentieth century hybridity and displacement. One of Ezra Pounds noteworthy projects, even before he published the 1915 collection of Chinese poems, Cathay was rethinking English language poetry as it refracted through cultural indices, from medieval Italian poetry to Chinese. He later established theories of poetics and language based on Chinese ideographic writing. Out of a radically different context Bei Dao, resisting the proscriptive ideological constraints of the Gang of Four at the end of Chairman Maos regime, wrote poetry using techniques and aesthetic principles associated with English language high modernist poetry. The implication of Bei Dao as writing like a westerner has come about through criticism from Chinese government officials, as well as a his effort to write and publish in an idiom other than the didactic slogan-saturated revolutionary romanticism and social realism. Moreover, Bei Dao is writing out of a traditionresidual forms of literary modernism had been an important part of Chinese avant-garde poetry movements throughout the twentieth century. This thesis will show how the two poets are writing in response to their historical context through a dynamic complex, involving interlanguage, residual modernism, and

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2 nomadic hybridity. Just as these intersecting ideas form a crossroads of diverging political and critical theories, the poetry of Bei Dao and Ezra Pound can also be represented by the figure of the crossroads. The crossroads is a place for congregation, commerce, and changes of direction, thus, serves as a starting point for our discussion on Ezra Pound and Bei Daos poetry. The critical pathways that intersect here are informed by linguistics and postcolonial theory. The term interlanguage is an important concept in language acquisition studies, which assumes that the learners language is a linguistic theory of the language that the learner is trying to speak. That is to say that the utterances of a language learner are not wild and random, but a way of knowing. Linguists, such as Chomsky and Selinker, also claim the language learners interlanguage output has two components, performance and competence. In this paper we will look at possible literary applications, concentrating on the aspects of interlanguage performance. The term residual modernity, as used by the scholar Xiaobing Tang to describe the modernist techniques employed by Chinese fiction writers in the 1980s, resonates with the work of postcolonial theorists like Chakrabarty and Duara who have been working with problems of historiography. They look at ways to bifurcate a Euro-centric historiography that is popularly conceived of as a natural development. At the same time they try to avoid reconstructing a narrative of history with an equally totalizing discourse. To attack this problem is to attack some of the popular, and somewhat invisible ways that history appears to be a natural evolution, or an all-embracing process (the Hegelian model, for instance). Finally, the term nomadic hybridity refers specifically to the concept established by the theorists Deleuze and Guattari. For instance, in A Thousand Plateaus they try to establish a theoretical

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3 framework for the role of the nomad in the nation state through a historiography of the nomad. Here the term will apply to the literal movement of the poets and the figurative movements within their poetry in relation to mass social movements. The figure of nomadic hybridity is a longstanding tradition imbricated in both Chinese and Anglo-American culture, which will be seen in Qu Yuanan exiled poet statesman who writes in a hybrid style poetry and in a symbolic gesture sacrifices himself.

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4 CHAPTER 2 ARRIVALS AND DEPARTURES Pounds university training was philology. He left his studies for Edwardian London in 1908, disgusted with the academy. The academic discipline of studying and comparing languages, however, is implicated in his fearless translations of cross-cultural forms from the Troubadour poets to the early Saxons. Working with T.E. Hulme and other poets in Londons avant-garde literary salons, Pound inculcated the foundational principles of the Imagist school soon after arriving in England. It was Hulme, a student of Bergson and heavily influenced by continental modernists, who in a 1910 lecture on modern art said that the mystery of things is no longer perceived as action but as impression, he also said that art no longer deals with heroic action, it has become definitely and finally introspective and deals with momentary phases in the poets mind( qtd. in Pratt, 21 ). The group experimented with vers libre and short forms, like the haiku. Deleuze and Guattari describe the writing of Kafka, using the metaphor of music to posit that a minor literature resembles a minor chord: as though music set out on a journey and garnered all resurgences, phantoms of the Orient, imaginary lands, traditions from all over ( Delueze and Guitari 95 ). From this criticism we not only see how the Orient is a continuation of several problems Looking at Pounds contribution to the March 1913 edition of Poetry Magazine, we see him establishing these kinds of qualities in his poetry, the titles include: Tenzone, The Garret, Dance Figure, Pax Saturni,

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5 A Pact, and In a Station of the Metro. One of the best examples of this can be found in In a Station of the Metro, a poem that has been dissected and labeled to the extent that it serves metonymically as the imagist school: The apparition of these faces in the crowd/Petals on a wet black bough. Dropping the copula from the metaphor, instead of syntax, parataxis creates the discursive continuum. The platform of the metro station provides the bricolage where the people of the city, rich and poor, foreigners and nationals, comers and goers are momentarily united underground by modern transportation. The metro serves as a place of journey (divergence) as well as community (convergence) in a juxtaposed collage. The composition of daily experience living in the cosmopolitan city (any city at the time big enough to support a subway system) is one of constant parataxis. Taking into account the theme/rheme argument, which states that word order determines the point of departure( Celce-Murcia and Larson-Freeman 22 ) of a clause, [t]he apparition suggests that these faces are less important than the sudden appearance of the supernatural. The haunting is caused on one hand by the immanent beauty of the faces suddenly precipitated from the crowd. On the other hand the people are haunted by the organizing principles of the cosmopolitan city that forces people underground, like souls in a Greek hell. William Pratt points out that Pound re-uses the Metro formulation in his Cantos to describe both heaven and hell ( 26 ). The poem is also haunted by phantoms of the Orient. Not only does the form borrow from the Japanese haiku, the content uses a motif of classical Chinese ink brush painting: Petals on a wet black bough. Eisenstein in his The Cinematographic Principle and The Ideogram, discussing the Japanese approach to painting a cherry

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6 branch, points out that the artist will frame the shot( 41 ). Eisenstein writing in 1930 seems to refer specifically to this poem as a prototypical montage. First, the image that Pound provides does not allow the reader to view the entire shrubbery. He cuts it, leaving only the bough and petals. Next, Pounds editing also includes a cut from the crowd in the familiar station to the ink brush painting. The ink brush painting is the framing device that situates the faces and the crowd within the image. This construction juxtaposes exterior and interior, nature and modernity, familiar and foreign. Imagist poets and Anglo-American poets in general were able to make a tradition out of literary modernism, that is to say they were heavily influenced by the French symbolists, yet they manage to clear out a space for critical difference. This can be seen not only in Hulme, but also in Pounds study of Gauttier ( Homberger 13 ). Baudelaire, twenty years prior, in addition to writing about the orient and exotic, often writes about the city through the eyes of the flanneur strolling about the avenues of Paris. Metro certainly has this quality. The poem seems like a casual observation that a city walker might make, using an artists eye to appreciate the experience of being in the metro. The poem also has a sense of Mallarms vigorous phrasing. In addition the haiku form has a vers libre quality, which at the time was foreign to English poetry. In fact, it was a concept so revolutionary to English poetry that throughout much of the twentieth century the easily translatable term remained French, non ? This combination of the city walker seeing the vision of the oriental print in a crowd of people, during an unprivileged moment in the metro intensifies the haunting. Deleuze describes this situation as it exists in a minor literature as: be[ing] a foreigner, but in ones own tongue, not only when speaking a lan g u a g e ot h e r than ones own. . is when s t y l e becomes a l a n g u a g e ( 98 ).

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7 Style becomes language in poetry, because it is part of the poets enunciation or performance. As such, the Metro poem has haunted poetic language since 1913. The poem In a Station of the Metro, in terms of literary history, performs as the station where Ezra Pound arrived as an imagist. It also serves as a point of departure that would take him across the across the classical Chinese literary landscape as we see in the re-worked translations that he included as representative pieces of imagism in the 1914 Des Imagistes anthology. Moving across time and space to 1970s Mainland China, Bei Dao wrote one of his most famous poems, The Answer ( Hud ). It was an enigmatic answer to the poetry and politics during the oppressive regime of the Gang of Four: btnffrnn Debasement is the password of the base, Nobility the epitaph of the noble. See how the gilded sky is covered With the drifting twisted shadows of the dead ( August Sleepwalker 35, lines 1-4 ) The first four lines consist of a parallel construction of two definitions followed by two lines containing a single image. The poem is written in quatrains with an abab end-rhyme structure ( zhngand b zh ngare off-rhymes, while t mng and n y ng are feminine rhymes). On the surface of the poem, the ideas are syntactically disconnected; the structure of the verse allows for parataxis as the ideas to comment on each other. The tone is decidedly eulogistic as even the sky, f dj # n (gilded) artificially golden does not house the rising sun (a common revolutionary motif used to represent Chairman Mao), but rather drifting twisted shadows of the dead. The translation reads rn d $ oy ng as shadows, but can also be translated as reflection in water or inverted image. This play on surfaces transforms clouds into an image of an image of

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8 the dead. In this simulacrum nobility is only a simulation of an ontological noble-ness, and, thus, its epitaph. All that is left is the gilded sky and debasement. When compared to the state-proscribed1 literature, the content in the poem is radical, unfamiliar, and not a little obscure. The Answer began circulating during the first Tiananmen incident of 1976 (the April Fifth Movement). People gathered at the square during the Qingming festival bringing eulogies and funeral wreathes to mourn the death of the extremely popular premier, Zhou Enlai. The gathering was also an implicit critique of the gang of four and the ailing Chairman Maos leadership of the Cultural Revolution. In this context, the allusion to nobility and debasement corresponds to revolutionary idealism, and the realities of the Cultural Revolution. With the April Fifth movement as the milieu the performative value of the poem can be found in its cutting irony, and critique of degenerating culture. The poem as a performance in an event that served as both protest and eulogy explains some of the reason for ambiguity; a direct affront to authority yielded severe consequences. At the same time, the poem radiates the high modernist imperious gesture of the charismatic Master ( Jameson 2 ). The syntactic disconnects in Bei Daos early verse represent the available linguistic space that existed outside of the Partys political speak. Bei Dao and the avant-garde poets searched out a linguistic response to the crisis of expression, and the disconnected syntax is evidence of the linguistic repression of the time. As such Bei Dao finds a literary modernism within the 1 In his famous Yanan address, Chairman Mao declared all literature must be a aid the proletariat revolution, calcifying an official state proscription that all literary styles must either conform to the conventions of social realism or revolutionary romanticism. Chairman Mao said literature must operate as powerful weapons for uniting and educating the people and for attacking and destroying the enemy, and that they help the people fight the enemy with one heart and one mind ( Mao 567 ).

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9 cultural context of the Cultural Revolution not as an imitation or appropriation of Western Modernism, but a use of language in response to the historical moment. Jacques Derrida suggests that Ezra Pound and Mallarm are prototypical grammatologists who estblished a graphic poetics in order to break the entrenched Western traditions ( 92 ). Likewise, Bei Dao, searches out language beyond an entrenched system, and in the process significantly alters the poetic landscape. In the first verse of the answer, the debasement/nobility opposition, in terms of class and class consciousness, deviates from the ideologically pure revolutionary romanticism poetry, and is a topic that Bei Dao treats with ambivalence. Like Gu Cheng, Mang Ke, and other poets that emerged from the Cultural Revolution in the Beijing literary scene, Bei Dao found the project of building a new aesthetics more important if not completely separate from politics. For example, Mang Ke said, Poems, after all, are not popular cookbooks ( Pan 199 ). Rey Chow sums up the attitude of these Chinese artists as follows: Contrary to orthodox Socialist beliefs, the protest made in contemporary Chinese popular culture is that such collectivization of human lives is what produces the deepest alienation ever, because it turns human labor into the useful job that we are performing for that other known as the collective, the country, the people, and so forth. ( Chow 469 ) This ambivalence attains a fuller expression in the poem Declaration that was published two years after The Answer, where Bei Dao claims, In an age without heroes/I just want to be a man ( August Sleepwalker lines 5-6 ). We are faced with the tension between the loss of the heroic and everyday mind of the individual, resonating with Hulmes pronouncement on modern art. The avant-garde movement in which Bei Dao took part was an elite group reshaping a national aesthetic, while at the same time

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10 having a certain degree of radical chic, putting the poets in a position similar to the imagists as profoundly contradictory: at once revolutionary and reactionary ( Homberger 6 ). The Answer projects some of this complexity onto the sky, which starts out a Tartarus of shades and then changes to a starlit expanse of the watchful eyes of future generations ( line 28 ). The movement Ezra Pound makes in remodeling modernity (the metro) into vegetation (petals and bough) exudes an aesthetic that is foreign yet familiar. Bei Dao also provides a similar uncanny foreign in the everyday by constructing a defiant subjectivity in a literary climate where the I had almost completely disappeared. In 1983, during the anti-Spiritual Pollution Campaign debates over the legitimacy of a Chinese modernism, the poet Xu Jinya expressed his support for the new aesthetic possibilities that literary modernism offered. He claims that the new poetry is, the exact opposite of all poetry since 1949: it has clear syllable images; the entire mood is obscure, the internal rhythm violent ( qtd. in Larson 52 ). Xu also notes that the beginning of the new style of poetry began in 1976 during the Tiananmen incident at the height of Chinas repression of foreign influences ( Larson 53 ). It seems that Xu has Bei Daos The Answer in mind. The parataxis, obscurity, and the focus on the image relate to the very roots of Anglo-American London avant-garde in the early 1910s even though the poem does something completely different than the poem In a Station of the Metro. For example, as The Answer continues, a subjective I emerges with a prophetic voice h a ving t o p r o c l a im b e fo r e the jud g m e nt/the voi c e th a t h a s b ee n jud g e d ( lines 15-16 ). The poet proclaims: I dont believe the sky is blue/I dont believe in thunders echoes/I dont believe that drea m s are false / I do n t belie v e that death has no rev e n g e ( lin e s 17-

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11 20 ) Th e se st a t e m e nts m ove fr om r a tion a listic tow a r d intuitive thinkin g a nd t e nd tow a r d a complexity that stylistically echoes the poems resistance to simplistic ideologically pure slogans, and state-proscribed forms. These statements in their naked declarative mood are something we rarely see in Anglo-American high modernism without highly ironic or hopelessly unreliable personae.

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12 CHAPTER 3 MODERNIST INTERLANGUAGE The reason for this juxtaposition of two very different poets from two different places and times is that their names have already been spliced together in interweaving narratives of modernism, translation, and appropriation. Both have become notable figures through poetry, gathering talent, editing, and compiling poetry for publication. They prove that the greater talent of modern poetry is not producing words on the page as much as producing poetry in the sense of the film producer producing a film. One of the few critical texts to put Bei Dao and Ezra Pound on the same page is Chen Xiaomei in her book Occidentalism She problematizes Saids seminal text Orientalism by showing how after the Liberation of 1949 official, artistic, and academic discourses reconstructed the West to reinforce as well as oppose an entrenched linguistic regime. She devotes a whole chapter on the misunderstanding of Western modernism, where she plays on the creative misunderstanding criticism of Pounds ideographic poetics ( 73 ). Using Chen Xiaomeis point that these discourses of misunderstanding are mutual, we engage the question of interlanguage. When poets attempt to use voices and styles that exist outside of their immediate cultural location, what sense can we make out of the cultural artifact that they produce? One way to approach the question is to view poetry as an event that occurs in language. Thus, it follows that the poets understanding of a culture, to the point that it becomes a

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13 theory, forms what language acquisition studies call an interlanguage.1 The interlanguage is the language learners language distinct from the native language and the target language. It not an inherently biological ability to process and produce a poetic grammar, but a site of mediation between the poets imperfect understanding of a second culture, and the possibilities that exist in creating art. Whether the source of inspiration comes from ancient Greece or China, the poets understanding of that literary heritage determines its application to literary production. Interlanguage is the term that Selinker applies to language learning that refers directly to Chomskys theory of language learning. . an internal representation of a system of rules that determine how sentences are to be formed, used, and understood ( Chomsky 25 ). Along with this idea, Chomsky offers two terms, performance and competence: two separate ways of evaluating language acquisition ( 25 ). By applying the concept of interlanguage to the appropriation of cultural artifacts, ranging from Ancient Greek architecture to early Tang Chinese lyrical poems, we can see that the understanding of the building or the verse when graded on a level of competence may seem lacking, and dependant on the artists understanding of the history, culture, and the form itself. Because the artists audience does not include the ancients, the mastery of reproducing a traditional form as understood in the conditions in which it was originally produced remains secondary to the purpose for which such a project is undertaken. Instead the performance or the use of this cross-cultural model in producing an aesthetic or political effect is the critical factor. Just as learning a second language creates insights into the paradigms and structures of the first language, the 1 Selinker introduced this term in his 1972 article Interlanguage to describe the learners language that is different from both the native language and the target language. The term conceptually follows Chomskys theory of language acquisition, see Aspects of the Theory of Syntax

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14 learning of a cross-cultural aesthetics reveals cultural possibilities and limitations. These possibilities and limitations in English language literary production are foregrounded in the experiments of literary modernism; to quote Eliots Prufrock, It is impossible to say just what I mean/ but as if some magic lantern tossed the nerves in images upon a screen. Transcribing a poetics across cultural boundaries shows how a poet identifies the extent to which culture is always hybrid and in flux, and uses this fact as a way of rethinking cultural paradigms and conventions. This performance functions similar to de Certeaus argument for a non-linguistic enunciation, which involves the realization of the linguistic system that actualizes some of its potential, as well as the appropriation of language by the speaker who uses it, and the organization of a temporality. . and the existence of a now which is the presence to the world( 33 ). As such, the conditions for performance require residual materials from which to draw. They lie embedded in the syntax of material culture beneath the ken of cultural consciousness from centuries of familiarity that the regular ebbs and floods of commerce, war, hospitality, and empire continually bring home (such as the habit of drinking of tea, or in the circulation of silver through different economies). In literary modernism the foreign surfaces in unexpected ways, such as T.S. Eliots Buddhism, and Ezra Pounds Confucianism. Both are informed by their respective interlanguage, which mediates a performance of their respective artistic and political statement. Buddhism and Confucianism become a polemical positioning of values that are foreign to both the domestic audience as well as the traditions from which they are derived. Using the high modernist voice and wasteland images Bei Dao is able to perform a poetic speech act, that at once criticizes the

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15 saccharine revolutionary romanticism, as well as speak in a new and innovative way. But Bei Daos modernism is something different from the elite Anglo-American literary modernism of the early twentieth century. When Ezra Pound says that there is a new Greece in China ( Qian 18 ), he speaks neither of geography, nor an algebraic genealogy that modern Americans or Europeans could trace back to a cultural and intellectual home. Instead the statement acknowledges that the identification of Classical Greek texts as the spring that feeds the stream of European and American culture not only privileges those texts, but also is both arbitrary and limiting. The polemics of situating modern European and American cultural heritage in China involves an argument against a historiography of progress, which is an ideology that understood Western Culture as resulting from a natural evolution of dominant cultures from imperial Greece and Rome, to imperial England and America. Pound suggests that the identification of England or America with a Classical Greek past is an artifice that leads down a blind alley, or at least, as seen during the first two decades of the twentieth century, several blind trenches. Pounds new Greece is a rethinking of cultural hybridity, not as bastardization or cultural hijacking, but as an aesthetic opportunity. It also marks a change from colonial discourses where Chinese is coded as inscrutable. Instead Pounds Chinese is something vital and necessary. Finally, it provincializes Europe, lightening the weight and temporality of a Euro-centric universe, and allowing for new possibilities and aesthetic experiences. The discovery of the Chinese print in the metro is akin to Hombergers idea that: It was the discovery of modernity within Edwardian culture itself which seems such a remarkable phenomenon ( 14 ).

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16 CHAPTER 4 RESIDUAL MODERNISM Theorizing the experimentation that Chinese fiction writers were making with form in the early eighties, Xiaobing Tang applies the term residual modernism. This term describes writers who deal with the issues of modernity, like tradition, economy, and national identity through identifiable discourses of literary modernism: Residual Modernism in China, furthermore, appears to be not merely a transplantation of modernist techniques, but also a repetition of a modernist ethos and even themes, only in a much more intensified and self-conscious form. (Residual Modernism 10 ) This concept asserts that the repetition is something other than mechanical reproduction of modernist texts, and stresses performance over competency (if not drudgery) of copying, say, The Cantos Residual modernism is found within Pounds In a Station of the Metro and in the imagist movement in general. The movement found a greater linguistic intensity and a heightened self-consciousness through ideas already existing. In this regard, modernism itself is a play on the pastiche, problematizing the aesthetics that have gone into defining post-modernism. Additionally, identifying the location from which the works are being transplanted becomes a messy business to explain. This problem exists in literary modernists like Amy Lowell, T.S. Eliot, and Ezra Pound where the aesthet i c s are heavi l y det e rmined b y the transplanting o f fo r e i g n cultu r a l artifacts. It is also found in Matisse and Picassos painting and sculpture, as well as Eisensteins theories of film. Is this simply a continuing of Orientalist discourses, or does

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17 can it represent something different? One explanation comes from Peter Wollen who shows how the cross-cultural materials figured by the French surrealists: For Breton, the fact that reactionaries consistently warned against the danger of Oriental influence, as they warned against any threat to the stability of their own Western culture, simply meant that those who themselves wished to destabilize the dominant culture could and should make use of the myth of the Orient as they might an other potentially subversive force. This concept of the Orient was the rallying cry for those who wanted to create an alternative aesthetic, which stood apart from the binary opposition of Western modernism and social change versus Western academicism and the ancien regime ( 26 ) That is to say that by adopting a phrase, pattern, image, or narrative strategy the writer chooses a way of clearing out a discursive space. It marks the poets becoming rather than a deterministic ontological historiography. As in the case of language acquisition studies, interlanguage either goes toward language via performance or it atrophies. Literary history is very much at fault for reinforcing the binaries involved in a cross-cultural aesthetics by framing literary innovations with a model that naturalizes a history of development. The historiography of development suggests there is natural evolution of writing; thus, literary modernism comes after the Victorian period and before postmodernism. From the fallen towers of postmodernism we find our current state of evolution, whatever you might wish to call itpost-postmodernism is it? More accurately, residual modernism, as a performance of becoming helps to disrupt the concept of literary modernism as a homogenous, hermeneutic literary era. Residual modernism re-conceptualizes their work as a condition of and a response to modernity. This also explains why there are so many conflicting narratives of modernity, making the term slippery. One narrative of literary modernism follows a postcolonial reading where the invisible circuits of colonial administration are foregrounded. Saids Orientalism depicts

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18 ways in which cultural interaction between Asia and The West has been mediated by networks of imperial administration, coercion, and domination, that have been supplemented with a massive academic and missionary project. This accounts for much of the European and American presence in China at the beginning of the twentieth century. The year 1900 marked the end of the Boxer Rebellion, among other things. According to a journalistic accounts the 19,000 soldiers in the allied forces that Europe and America sent to crush the rebellion were relentless in exacting revenge: Every town, every village, every peasants hut in the path of the troops was first looted and then burned ( qtd. in Tuchman 33 ). After the six armies smashed the anti-foreigner Boxers, they imposed indemnities on the Qing administration for crimes against civilization and crimes against the nation ( Tuchman 33 ). This outrageous miscarriage of power and domination was continual as it was a continuation of Orientalist discourses that involved civilizing and teaching lessons to uncivilized countries. Here, too, is the historiography of progress cementing an ideology. The events of the Boxer rebellion also facilitated an increased flow of Chinese cultural items to England, like the scrolls that were collected in the British Museum. There, in the British Museum, Ezra Pound would frequent, often dining at a nearby caf with Binyon, the British Museum curator who promoted exhibitions and lectures on Chinese and Japanese art ( Qian 13 ). The culture of China moving into the center of London would have a profound effect on Anglo-American poetry. The translations, reworking of translations, and imitations of Chinese poetry from the time of Pound onward often appeared in an anti-colonial context in Anglo-American poetry. Poetry as performance can be seen in the strains of this anti-imperial sentiment

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19 found in Ezra Pounds Cathay For example, The Bowmen of Shu depicts forlorn soldiers in a far imperial outpost stricken by hunger and homesickness. Later in the poetry of the San Francisco renaissance of the 1950s and 60s, this positioning of Chinese poetry as having an anti-war connotation appeared again, particularly in the work of Allen Ginsburg and Gary Snyder. Through these poems China works as a way of clearing out a space outside of conventional poetics, if not politics, as seen in Fenollosas notebooks: The duty that faces us is not to batter down their forts or exploit their markets[w]e need their best ideals to supplement our own( 4 ). This notion parallels statements made by Bei Dao and other Chinese writers of the late 1970s and early 1980s about the possibilities of an applied Western Modernism. Pounds persona, Mauberly, lamented a breakdown in culture and looked beyond England to find it. Pound did not have to travel to China; the cultural artifacts were residing in the British Museum. In fact, David Porter, in his Ideographia: The Chinese Cipher in Early Modern Europe shows how Chinese cultural artifacts have been a part of British commodity and intellectual culture for over four centuries. In the very same century that saw massive social rifts and unprecedented economic and technological changes in Europe and America, China experienced a series of unparalleled upheavals. Throughout the twentieth century, Chinese literature was marked by avant-garde literary movements that translated, studied, and incorporated stylistic innovations from foreign literature. These movements used the appropriations as a means of clearing out a space to express a unique condition of modernity. From the May Fourth Movement in 1919 continuing to the late 1970s and early 1980s democracy

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20 movements, avant-garde literary circles employed modernism as a critique to oppose dominant discourses, and as establish ed aesthetic o p portuni t ies The nar r ative of learni n g f r om the W e st to defeat the W e st be g i nni n g wi t h the Opium W a r w a s l a t e r to be r e pe a t e d b y the inv a s i on of the Six A r mi e s in t he B o x e r Rebellion and again during the Japanese invasion. For example, Li Hongsheng in a 1979 Guandong Ribao article summarizes a conference of historians who were outlining Chinas Learning from the West; in the article Li states that the historians identify the end of the Opium War through to the 1870s as the time when pioneers first perceived Chinas backwardness, thus, beginning the modern age of China ( 3 ). The perception of backwardness and humiliation versus modern becomes part of the poets interlanguage, and mediates the performance of using literary modernism as an aesthetic. The attitude toward Westernization as a way of strengthening China, coupled by the presence of European, Russian, American, and Japanese imperial administrative networks and infrastructure (schools, missionaries, printing presses), had, in addition to a large translation pro j ect, cr e a ted a li n g uistic h y b r idi t y that would alter not on l y the literary aesthetic but also the Chinese language itself. Early twentieth century Chinese iconoclastic avant-garde literary movements, which formed a hybrid style of content and form, appeared roughly contemporaneous with the high modernists. By the time Bei Dao emerged as one of the key figures in the menglong group, techniques and ethos of literary modernism had already been used as a tactic in Chinese literature and literary movements for over sixty years. As a performance, the menglong poets use of literary modernist techniques was a statement (artistic and political), which can be seen as a response to the Gang of Fours mono-logic demands for an ideologically pure language.

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21 The term menglong can mean either obscure or misty, and there is a tradition of menglong as misty poetry dating back to the ninth century Tang dynasty poet, Li Shangyin. The menglong poetry of the late 1970s early 1980s, however, according to Michelle Yeh, receives its name from a negative review by a critic Zhang Ming who wrote an article called The Infuriating Menglong , criticizing their work as obscure ( Light a Lamp 385 ). Tang Zhengxu, a scholar from Mainland China, points out that the target of this attack was not the major menglong poets of the time (Bei Dao, Shu Ting, or Gu Cheng), but rather Yuan Kejia and the Jiuye (Nine Leaf) group that formed in the 1940s. This group was heavily influenced by T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound, and even wrote articles on poetics of the image ( Tang 523 ). Tang suggests that the Yuan Kejia and the Jiuye group deeply influenced the sensibilities of the menglong poets ( 523 ). Members of this group met in Xinan Lianda (Southwest Associated University) in Kunming during the Japanese invasion, where several famous modernist poets, like Feng Zhi and Bian Zhilin, held teaching posts, and the American modernist poet and critic William Empson lectured from 1938-1939 ( Yip, Lyrics From Shelters 49 ). Later Yuan Kejia became the compiler of the first anthology of Western modernism that was published in China during the early 1980s ( Tang 523 ). Before the Cultural Revolution in the early 1960s, the Jiuye group translated books that systematically introduced Western modernist literature ( Bei Dao, Translation Style 63 ). These books were only available to Party cadres; yet during the chaos of the Cultural Revolution, they began to spread out to the educated youth, and, according to Bei Dao, provided a necessary basis for the birth of underground literature ( 63 ). As far as influence is concerned, there had been an internalization and codification of Western modernism (which included everything from Kafka to Lorca to

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22 Camus) within elite poetry circles in China after the Cultural Revolution. Though critics like William Tay marvel at the imagist quality of Gu Chengs poems ( Tay 139 )Gu Cheng had never read any of the imagists. The fact that the ideas of imagism had been circulating amid Chinese intellectuals and literary elites for sixty years should change the inquiry from how are the characteristics of the two different poetic movements so similar? to what were the different poetic movements doing with the similar styles of literature? And even more fundamentally, since the ideas of imagism were sustained through classical Japanese and Chinese poetic structures and subject matter, what are the implications of this cross-cultural commerce in aesthetics? Through this question we can appreciate how some of the avant-garde Chinese poets of the late 1970s situated their literary modernism, moreover we can gain a fresh way of looking at the avant-garde Anglo-American modernists.

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23 CHAPTER 5 OBSERVING PERFORMANCE The point of these brief historical narratives is to show the extent to which Chinese culture had been entering Europe and America during the waning stretch of their colonial forays into China, and the extent to which literary modernism was residual in China. Hopefully this demonstration shows that Bei Dao and Ezra Pounds enunciation uses an available language because it was already there. Bei Dao said: Our poems must absorb the techniques of Western poems, while the mood and emotion must be national. In this case, national should not be mechanically understood as referring to traditional Chinese literary forms such as Chinese folk songs, but as trials and tribulations uniquely experienced by the Chinese nation. ( Pan and Jie 199 ) In this statement, we can see Bei Dao working through the performance aspect of a hybrid poetics. Bei Dao would agree with Xiaobing Tangs residual modernism where hybridity is a tactic for poetic enunciation. This statement also shows the anxiety and ambivalence Bei Dao has toward the nation-state. The nation-state provides a foundation for describing a community who have suffered similar trials and tribulations, but with the rigid cultural borders of the modern nation-state comes a limit on the artistic possibilities and static mechanical reproduction. Hybridity, especially as expressed in the conventions of literary modernism has been a continual tactic in dueling with an age of mechanical reproduction. Explaining, perhaps, why Pound in H. S. Mauberly says,

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24 the age demanded an image, and the imagist poets began to look seriously at classical Chinese poetry. "# $ Life Net ( August Sleepwalker 35 ) Bei Dao published this one character poem as a part of a collection of brief imagistic blank-verse fragments, titled Notes from the City of the Sun, pushing the limits of lyric compression. Ezra Pound describes the one image poem as a form of super-position, that is to say, one idea on top of another( Gaudier 89 ). If we follow Pounds aesthetic theory into "# [Life], we can make sense of $[net] as supporting the idea of Life. The possibilities for interpretation are endless. Regardless, of interpretation, the poem, like the other poems from Notes from the City of the Sun, can be seen to follow the principles that Pound labors to explain throughout his article on Vorticism in his Gaudier-Brzeska: a Memoir Pound states: The image is the word beyond formulated language( 88 ). Through this image of the net, Pound would later argue through Fellonossa, the concept of life emerges un-tampered by rhetorical forms, because it is presented in a more natural language where the Chinese ideogram represents the thing itself[i]t retains the creative impulse and process, visible and at work( Fenollosa 25 ). Another example from the Notes is Freedom which is comprised of the single image: Scraps of paper, fluttering ( August Sleepwalker 32 ). The pattern in these poems is consistent. Notes from the City of the Sun relies on super-position to take words that have rhetorical distinction, like Youth, Love, and juxtaposes them with a singular image. This returns us to Hulmes 1910 observation of modern art that the heroic in is replaced by the subjectivity of poets individual mind.

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25 The poem Life strips down all representations of life to almost nothing but a single character that is fraught with meaning, leaving most of the page empty. Also, the position of the poem, contiguous to surrounding poems that employ similar devices, creates the effect of a collage. Through this collage the irony cuts through the representations, and the critique becomes more and more apparent. The poems, taken collectively, serve as a pedagogical tool for reading each poem individually. In a poem like Freedom, we are presented with an image of Scraps of paper/ Fluttering( August Sleepwalker 32 ). Here freedom is stripped of its romantic and idealistic connotations. Motherland depicts the idea of an organic nation-state situated as a museum piece: Cast on a shield of bronze/she leans against a blackened museum wall ( 32 ). The poems are driven by an objective correlative, which is semantically disconnected from the title. Motherland gives the clue as to the subtext behind these poems. Bei Dao with a biting irony reduces the idealized nation-state to something orientalized, exoticized, and propped up, perhaps in some back corner of the British Museum. The poems work as a space clearing gesture, sweeping out the formulaic and proscribed answers that were demanded in literature by officials. These imagistic poems were published in 1978 two years after the Answer. Notes from the City of the Sun functions similar to what Ezra Pound describes in his A Few Donts By An Imagist as, the presentation of such [intellectual and emotional response to an image] a complex instantaneously which gives that sense of sudden liberation( 200 ). Quite literally, Bei Dao adheres to Chairman Maos proscriptive purpose of poetry, which is to liberate the masses; (the title of the poem has a play on Chairman Mao, the rising sun, making Beijing, the city where Bei Dao was writing, the City of the Sun) the liberation

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26 occurring in the poems found in Notes from the City of the Sun, however, takes words like freedom or life and liberates them from pre-determined, if not over-determined, signification often found in the slogans that saturated the Mao-era cultural milieu Later, throughout the 1980s and especially after his exile in 1989 his poetry would become less and less represented by the prophetic voice of the Answer and move on to different aesthetic principles. Bei Dao has said that he did not like the poem The Answer very much, and that it did not represent his poetry.1 This statement reminded me of Pounds turn against the im a g i st school, dismissing it as too restrictive a form Pounds contributions to the first anthology of imagist poems, Des Imagistes in 1913, demonstrate his e x periments in refi g u ri n g Chinese translations with im a g i st char a c t e r i s ti c s, as seen in F anP i ece, for h e r I m per i al L o rd: O fan of white silk, Clear as frost on the grass-blade, You also are laid aside. ( Qian 46 ) The poem uses juxtaposition differently than Bei Daos Life or Freedom but the main idea remains: the juxtaposition of concise phrasings, produces an intellectual and emotional complex in an instant of time ( A Few Donts 200 ). If we are to understand the intellect as that which registers the image, and the emotional as a locus of affectations produced by an image, we are left with a lyric that forms a circular bond between the personae who sees the fan, registers its delicate coldness, and experiences an emotional response. The persona, then, experiences the ideal response to reading an imagist poem. 1 This conversation took place during a dinner with Bei Dao, Dr. Carlos Rojas, and the poet Suzanne Zweizig, after his poetry reading at the University of Florida in March of 2002.

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27 The poems title, Fan-Piece, suggests that the poem would be printed on a fan, heightening the poems self-consciousness of its own subject matter; it is situating the fan, as the subject of the personas consciousness, on the fan. This also brings the poet r y out o f a p a ge in a book, and resituates it as a deco r a tive a r t. The int e ntion of Pounds decorative art is to breach the surface of ornamentation; Pound states this intention in his article, V o r ticism, wh e r e he claims : The point o f I m a g isme is that it does not use im a g e s a s o r n a m e nts. T h e im a ge is its e l f the sp e e c h ( qtd. in Pratt 2 3 ). Pound tries to d e f y the l a ws o f p h y s i c s with the a l c h e m y of po e t r y attempting to t r a n s f o r m t h e si g ni f ier into the signified. The representation of the Chinese subject matter is familiar, recalling at once the trope of tragic beauty, as well as the Oriental image of the unappreciated concubine cast aside by her despotic Imperial Lord. In the poem, as the persona apprehends the fan, which triggers a subjective identification with the objecta fan misplaced, and unappreciated. The emotional complex of the piece is sorrow, dejection, and loss of having been objectified and then discarded. Moreover, the words, laid aside, add another layer, suggesting, perhaps, a post-coital depression and the sexual politics of virginity, beauty, youth, and value. These codes are already familiar to English and American audiences. Postcolonial theorists, like Appiah,2 would suggest that this is an appropriation necessary for commercial reasons. The poem adheres to a pattern of chinoiserie With its Chinese branding, it clears out a market space for imagist poetry, differentiating it from competing avant-garde poetry movements, like futurist poetry. A more complicated 2 For further discussion see Appiahs article Is the Post- in Postcolonial the Post- in Postmodern?

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28 answer would involve Pounds interlangage of Chinese poetry, which would have been affected by the sheer amount of chinoiserie residual in Europe. Undoubtedly, the interlanguage would be negotiating orientalist discourses, especially since the source material for the poem comes from the English academic Sinologist, Giles, who was engaged in producing knowledge of the Orient. Despite the participation of Orientalist tropes, Pounds poem as a performance also provides a different paradigm for thinking through a theory of aesthetics, and performing an oblique criticism of the imperial. As in Bei Daos Notes, the title of the poem works towards establishing a superpositional relation. The title A Fan-Piece, for her Imperial Lord situates the reader as the Imperial Lord who is in the privileged position with the agency to chose this and lay aside that. In doing so Pound is able to complete a parallel circuit where the fan, the poem, and the speaker of the poem charge the reader with a mean lack of sensibilities. The fan, the poetry on the fan, and the poetthey have all been laid aside. Fan-Piece is a performative use of language and art to critique the Imperial Lord, the reader, and the patron of the arts. These themes of lost patronage, lost identity, corruption, and decadence continue throughout literary modernism. We see, for instance in Pounds work emerging after World War I a different approach to form and an unrestrained attack on British culture. This appears in his blast of the imagist literary scene in his poem H.S. Mauberly, where we find a damning critique of the British imperial authority: There died a myriad, And of the best, among them, For an old bitch gone in the teeth, For a botched civilization. ( H. S. Mauberly, Part V, Lines 1-4 )

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29 Another poem by Pound that appeared in Des Imagistes is Liu Che. Like FanPiece, Pound reworks Giles translation. This poem was originally written by the Han dynasty Emperor Liu Che as an elegy for the deceased Li Furen: Liu Che The rustling of silk is discontinued, Dust drifts over the court-yard, There is no sound of foot-fall, and the leaves Scurry into heaps and lie still, And she the rejoicer of the heart is beneath them: A wet leaf that clings to the threshold. ( Xie 56 ) Beginning with the last line, we are reminded of one of Pounds, In a Station of the Metro where the petals are clinging to a wet, black bough. This image also appears in another reworked Chinese translation that appears in Des Imagistes Tsai Chih, the orange-coloured rose-leaves/ Their Ochre clings to the stone( Qian 46 ). We see this repetition of technique and imagery as a way to encapsulate some psychological state or experience related to the rest of the poem ( Wilson 141 ). Furthermore, the clinging creates a play of presence and absence that we find underlying both modernism as well as classical Chinese poetry. The wet leaf, here, along with the dust, manifests the emotional complex formed by the absence of rustling and footsteps. Time, as sensed through sound has lost its presence (rustling, sound of footfall) and is overtaken by the image of A wet leaf that clings to the threshold. This can be seen in the graphic outlay of the poem as a colon followed by a space separates the final line. The symbol of the wet leaf recapitulates Orientalist discourse by positioning the Oriental as feminine. The wet leaf symbolizes the loss of feminine beauty, and fecundity, and by doing so it also foregrounds the oppositethe condition of the

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30 courtyard, where dry dust drifts. Here we have the archetypal wasteland image (I will show you fear in a handful of dust). This comment on the infertility and dryness represents a lack that literary modernism tries to fill through cross-cultural material. The trope of the feminine with both beauty and fecundity, also figures prominently in environmental discourses of the twentieth century. The study of Chinese culture and artifacts in English language discourses of environmental criticism might be fruitful. For example, Gary Snyder, one of the leading voices of environmental criticism, too, translated Chinese poetry and was influenced by Ezra Pound. This is another way that the poets Chinese interla n g u a ge pe rf orms what de Cert e a u c a lls enunciation. Liu Che, A Fan-Piece, for her Imperial Lord, and Tsai Chih were all represented in Des Imagistes the anthology that included artists that would become key figures in twentieth century English literature, such as James Joyce, HD, D.H. Lawrence, Richard Aldington, and Amy Lowell, among others. If the edition was in some way a definition of the imagist school of poetry, and Ezra Pound was the central figure in the production of this first anthology, then the poems that Pound chose to represent himself with can be viewed as representative for his vision of imagism. The making of the anthology also shows how, by 1913, avant-garde modernism was already residual self-consciously piecing together its own image. Pounds inclusion of the three Chinese translations shows the extent that imagism was invested in the Orient.

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31 CHAPTER 6 NOMADIC HYBRIDITY We have seen that both Ezra Pound and Bei Dao bring into circulation the imm a n e n c e of c ultu r a l h y b r idi t y Th e y not on l y carry f o r e i g n po e t r y in t o the dom e stic cultural a r ena, but th e y t hemselves, also physically crossed cultural bor d e rs. T h is movement applies to the metaphor of the crossroads established at the beginning of the paper, with the third intersection, nomadic hybridity. Ezra Pound first moved to London in 1909. At the beginning of the Cultural Revolution Bei Dao ended his studies at one of the few elite middle schools in Beijing. He joined the Red Guards and went to the countryside to receive a proletariat peasant re-education. From these movements I want to suggest that their nomadic position as an outsider perhaps triggered their sensitivity to the residual culture to which they became identified. I also want to suggest that consciously or unconsciously both poets followed the archetypal nomadic hybridity of Qu Yuan. As such, they became relatively self-contradictory in creating an aesthetic that no longer deals with heroic action and deals with momentary phases in the poets mind, they both tried to assume the dauntless responsibility as the saviors of culture. Qian Zhaoming describes Pounds early exposure to Chinese poetry though Giles translation, showing how Pound was captivated by one of the earliest canonized poets of China, Qu Yuan. More importantly, Pounds notion of brevity was affected by his

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32 reading of Qu Yuan1: They hold if a man cant say what he wants to in 12 lines, hed better lea v e it unsaid. T H E period was 4th cent. B C. Ch u Yuan, I m a g iste ( qtd. in Qian 25 ). Qian also shows how Pound would have identified Hulmes imagist principles in Qu Yuans poetry, because Pound had read Giles statement that Qu Yuans poetry was a choosi n g and worki n g up of anal o g ies ( qtd. in Qian 34 ). Pound like Qu Yuan was affected by his biculturalism( Qian 30 ) as a mediator of refined northern civilization and the barbarians of the South ( Schnaider 210 ). In addition to Qu Yuan, Li Bai (Li Po) the Tang dynasty poet is another famous example of cultural hybridity within the nation-state, as he was born in what is now Kazakhstan, and spent much of his life traveling to different parts of China. Even today Li Bais poetry is perhaps the most celebrated in all of China. Bei Dao and Ezra Pound were familiar with both of these poets, and their lives. With this being said, the poet as a figure is a text that runs underneath the question of cross-cultural appropriations. The poets movements, like nomadic existence, and the working across boundaries form a readable rhetoric. This rhetoric is also a deep part of the poets interlanguage of the cross-cultural poetics, determining to a certain extent what the poet translates to the surface of the page. So when Bei Dao, who was sent down to the countryside from one of the best middle schools in Beijing during the Cultural Revolution, claims that h e is e x perimenting with a h y brid a e sthetic he is d o ing something that is intensely national that dates back to Chinas earliest canonical poets ( Pan 200 ). It also shows how Ezra Pound could call China the new Greece, as Pound splices himself 1 Pound, in A Few Donts By An Imagiste, said: It is better to present one Image in a lifetime than to prod u ce v o l u m i n ous w o r k s ( 2 01 ).

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33 to a tradition of poets who were revered by the nation, yet, they, themselves, were working through the problem of nomadic hybridity. Qu Yuan was a poet-official of the Warring States period (403-221 BC) from the state of Chu, who is one of the earliest poets to be recognized in the Chinese classical canon. The story goes that he was in good graces with the emperor of Chu, but jealousy overtook the emp e rors c ourt ; Qu Yuan w a s slan d e red, and t h en e x iled. He again tried to win an audience with the emperor to warn him of impending danger from a rival kingdom, and again he was denied; the kingdoms capital city was sacked; he then threw himself into the Milo River after writing a poem that serves as a suicide note ( Schnaider 19-21 ). The Han dynasty historian Sima Qian, in his biography of Qu Yuan, explains that the poet: chose to die rather than seek a place in the worldLike a cicada slipping from his shell, he shook off the filth that surrounded him and soared far beyond its defilement( qtd. in Schnaider 21 ). When we look at the performance aspect of Bei Dao and Ezra Pounds poetry, they can be seen as responses to massive geo-political transformations, of which residual culture is a symptom. Their poems voice a protest against a corrupt regime of power, even if the regime of power is simply popular taste. They also construct tragic and self-sacrificing personae (for example, Bei Daos The Answer, and Pounds H. S. Mauberly) for which poetry is the act of cultural purification as well as an emphatic notice to the public advertising the sacrifice. In The Answer the trope of Qu Yuan crops up after the poet declares he does not believe: %&'()*+,-n./01)456 If the sea is destined to breach the dikes/ Let all the brackish water pour into my heart ( lines 21-22 )

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34 Taking this passage literally, the persona of the poem threatens death by water. Figuratively, the conjunction between the prophetic voice and the purification sacrifice combine to save the culture that has endured pollution, suggesting a liturgical if not magical quality of poetry that at once critiques and restores culture. The Answer recollects the artist as an alienated figure who threatens death by water. This creates a complex of narcissism and heroic selflessness found not only in The Answer, but also in many modernist texts including Mauberly (who also kills himself, perhaps by drowning as seen in the lines: The chopped seas held him in, and, here drifted an hedonist). Pound says this about Mauberly: The worst muddle they are making is in failing to see that Mauberly buries E. P. in the first poem ( qtd. in Wilson 158 ). Wilson points out, [i]f the voice that buries E. P. in the first poem is Mauberly, then the narrator of the other poems in the sequence would revert to him too, resulting in the dead Mauberly narrating his own life and reading his own suicide note ( 158 ). Here the confusion between poet and persona is magnified, especially in figures like Pound and B e i DaoPound w o uld leave E n g l and soon a f ter Mau b e r l y for Italy due to a host of political, economic, and cultural reasons. Bei Dao would leave China due to his role as an activist in the democracy movement that came to a head in 1989. Thus, the trope of nomadic hybridity is written across their very lives. Schnaider shows how some twentieth century Chinese intellectuals and artists saw their work, which seems to also adequately describe many modernist writers and their ambivalence toward national forms and the reception of their work: This barbarianlike alienness of Chu Yuans [Qu Yuan] individuality made him attractive to poet-officials who themselves were driven to extremities. In the twentieth century, it was all the more attractive to the self-proclaimed deracine those intellectuals who saw themselves as superfluous, and made useless by the

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35 timesthose imitation foreign devils who had traveled in and learned from the barbarian West. ( 208 ) We cannot say for sure whether or not Bei Dao and Ezra Pound felt this way about their work, but critics such as Ai Qing, a poet who had established his fame before 1949, and survived the various waves of criticism and rehabilitation to achieve a weighty status at the end of the Cultural Revolution, criticized Bei Dao by saying: Poems cannot be evaluated as good or bad unless they are understandable in the first placeThe incomprehensibility of some poems results from their mechanical imitation of Western poetry( qtd. in Pan 199 ). This criticism was typical of the critical reception that the menglong poets received as their poetry was circulated around Beijing between 1978 and 1980. The criticism brings up the question of mechanical reproduction in a way that is in dialogue with Bei Daos claim that not experimenting with a different aesthetic would lead to mechanically understanding. Ai Qings criticizes the poem Life from Notes from the City of the Sun as something Western ( 199 ). Taking for granted that Bei Dao wrote imitation[s] of Western poetry, the criticism brings up the question of the legitimacy of poetic appropriation. To this effect the critic has become what Bruno Latour calls a policeman, determining the legitimacy of appropriation and misappropriation; Latour adds, appropriation is a typically modernist term that means, of course, that there is a rightful owner ( Latour 266 ), and this question of ownership of metaphor are the challenges that both Bei Dao and Ezra Pound bring about through their poetry. In Bei Daos poetry the voices and aesthetics that have been affected by the experimentation of the literary modernism that took place in Europe, America, and China during the first half of the twentieth century, and in Ezra Pounds poetry has been affected by aesthetics of classical Chinese art.

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36 The comparison of these two poets shows how their poetry is a response to modernity that is already in itself residual. The Ezra Pounds use of classical Chinese poetry, and Bei Daos use of literary modernism are tactics for enunciation, which have generated new ways of expressing the poets relation to the nation and national form. Both poets ended up defined by national politics. Bei Dao along with a few other menglong poets went into exile after the Tiananmen Square incident; Ezra Pound was admitted into an insane asylum after being acquitted for treason. Later, he died an ex-patriot in Pisan, Italy. Both poets to an extent have recapitulated the nomadic hybridity of Qu Yuan and as such have challenged the boundaries of a national aesthetic. In the process they have altered the cultural landscape within the boundaries of the nation from which they have departed.

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37 CHAPTER 7 CONCLUSION Bringing this discussion full circle, the comparison of these two international literary figures hopefully allows us to do two things at once. First, the comparison helps to locate a nexus of theoretical approaches in dealing with the complicated issue of trans-cultural poetry. Combining interlanguage, residual modernism, and nomadic hybridity that I see intersecting in the poetry of Bei Dao and Ezra Pound represents one approach to understanding this complex. The comparison also helps to rethink the field of literary studies that tends to treat poetry within a monolingual, if not monolithic, literary tradition. That is to say that English or American poetry is not a phenomenon that occurs within the isolated confines of national borders. The comparison of these two poets also opens up a broad horizon for further inquiry. For example, the material production and circulation of the poetry is another important consideration, because both Bei Dao and Ezra Pound were instrumental in consolidating their respective schools of poetry (imagism and menglong poetry). This also involves a study of the other poets in these schools, like the menglong poet Gu Cheng and the imagist HD. In terms of literary history, looking at the nuances of the Orientalist and Occidentalist discourses is also very important in understanding our present geopolitical situation where the foreign o t h er is continually figured as a t h r eat t o a n a ti ona l e x i s t e nce.

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38 LIST OF REFERENCES Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism New York: Verso, 1983. Appiah, Kwamme Anthony. “Is the ‘Post-’ in ‘Postcolonial’ the ‘Post-’ in ‘Postmodern’?” Dangerous Liaisons: Gender, Nation, and Postcolonial Perspectives Ed. Anne McClintock, Hamir Mufti, and Ella Shohat. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 2002. 420-444. Barbara, JT. "Ezra Pound's Imagist Aesthetics: Lustra to Mauberly." The Columbia History of American Poetry Ed. Jay Parini. New York: Columbia U P, 1993. Bei, Dao. August Sleepwalker Trans. Bonnie S. McDougall. London: Anvil Press Poetry, 1988. ---. “Translation Style: A Quiet Revolution.” Inside Out: Modernism and Post Modernism in Chinese Literary Culture Ed. Wendy Larson. Oxford: The Alden Press, 1993. ---. “ Wuye Geshou: Bei Dao Shi Ci Taipei: Jiu Ge Chu Ban She, 1994. Bhabha, Homi K. “Taking Signs for Wonders.” The Post-Colonial Studies Reader Ed. Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths, and Helen Tiffin. New York: Routledge, 1995. 2935. Brown, Gale ed. The Dial: Arts and Letters in the 1920's Worcester: Worcester Art Museum, 1981. Celce-Muricea, Marianne, and Diane Larson-Freeman. The Grammar Book New York: Heine and Heine, 1999. Chakrabarty, Dipesh. Provincializing Europe Princeton: Princeton U P, 2000. Chen, Fong-Ching, and Guantao Jin. From Youthful Manuscripts to River Elegy: The Chinese Popular Cultural Movement and Political Transformation 1979-1989 Hong Kong: Chinese U P, 1997. Chen, Xiaomei. Occidentalism: A Theory of Counter-Discourse in Post-Mao China Oxford: Oxford U P, 1995.

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39 Chomsky, Noam. Aspects of the Theory of Syntax Cambridge: MIT U P, 1965. Chow, Rey. “Listening Otherwise, Music Miniaturized: A Different Type of Question About Revolution.” The Cultural Studies Reader Ed. Simon During. New York: Routledge, 2000. 462-476. De Certeau, Michel. The Practice of Everyday Life Berkeley, University of California Press, 1984. Deleuze, Gilles. Cinema 1: The Movement Image Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1986. Deleuze, Gilles, and Felix Guattari. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1987. Derrida, Jacques. Of Grammatology Trans. by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins U P, 1997. Dirlik, Arif. Postmodernism & China Durham: Duke U P, 2000. ---. Revolution and history: the origins of Marxist historiography in China, 1919-1937 Berkeley: U of California P, 1978. Duara, Prasenjit. Becoming Chinese: Passages to Modernity and Beyond Berkeley: U of California P, 2000. ---. Chinese Local Elites and Patterns of Dominance Berkeley: U of California P, 1990. Eisenstein, Sergey. Film Form: Essays in Film Theory New York: Harcourt, 1977. Fang, Achilles. "Fenollosa and Pound." Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 20 (1957): 213-38. Fellonosa, Ernest. The Chinese Written Character as a Medium for Poetry Ed. Ezra Pound. New York: City Lights Books, 1936. Feng, Liping. “Democracy and Elitism: The May Fourth Ideal of Literature.” Modern China 22.2 (Apr. 1996): 170-196. Flint, F. S. “Imagisme.” Poetry: A Magazine of Verse 1.6 (March 1913): 198-200. Friedman, Susan Stanford. “Definitional Excursions: The Meanings of Modern/Modernity/Modernism.” Modernism/Modernity 8.3 (2001): 493-513. Goodman, David S.G. Beijing Street Voices Boston: Marion Boyars Publishing Ltd. 1981.

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40 Gould, Jean. Amy: The World of Amy Lowell and the Imagist Movement New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1975. Griffin, Nicholas J. Britains Chinese Labor Camps in World War I Military Affairs 30.3 (Oct 1976): 102-108. Grover, Philip ed. Ezra Pound: The London Years: 1908-1920 New York: AMS Press 1978. Hakutani, Yoshinobu. Ezra Pound, Yone Noguchi, and Imagism. Modern Philology 90 (1992): 46-69. Hayot, Eric. Critical Dreams: Orientalism, Modernism, and the Meaning of Pounds China. Twentieth Century Literature 45.4 (Winter 1999): 511-533. Homberger, Eric. Modernists and Edwardians. Ezra Pound: The London Years 19081920 Ed. Philip Grover. New York: AMS Press, 1978. Hulme, Peter. Columbus and the Cannibals. The Postcolonial Studies Reader Edited by Aschroft et al. New York: Routledge, 1995. Jameson, Fredric. Postmodernism Durham: Duke U P, 1991. Kenner, Hugh. "Ezra Pound and Chinese." Agenda (October-November 1965): 38-41. ---. The Invention of China." Spectrum 9 (Spring 1967): 21-52. Kern, Robert. Orientalism, Modernism, and the American Poem Cambridge: Cambridge U P, 1996. Larson, Wendy. Realism, Modernism, and the Anti-Spiritual Pollution Campaign in China. Modern China 15.1 (January 1989): 37-71. Latour, Bruno. An Interview with Bruno Latour. Configurations 1.2 (1993): 247-268. Li Honglin. Exposing and Criticizing the Gang of Four Constitutes a Decisive Battle for a Historical Nature. History Research ( Lishih yenchiu ) 3 (March 1978): 3-15. Li Hongsheng. Guangdong Historians Discuss Learning from the West. Guagndong Nanfang Ribao [ Southern Guangdong Daily ] 9 Jan 1979: 3. Link, Perry. The Uses of Literature: Life in the Socialist Chinese Literary System Princeton: Princeton U P, 2000.

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41 Liu, Lydia. Translingual Practice: Literature, National Culture, and Translated Modernity, China 1900-1937 Stanford: Stanford U P, 1995. Lowell, Amy. Nationalism in Art. Poetry: A Magazine of Verse 5.1 (October 1914): 33-38. Lowes, John L. The Poetry of Amy Lowell an Unacknowledged Imagist. Essays in Appreciation. Port Washington: Kennikat Press, Inc., 1936. Mao Zedong. Mao Zhuxi Yulu Beijing: Renmin Chubanshe. 1967. Monroe, Harriet. Notes. Poetry: A Magazine of Verse 2.6 (September 1913): 228-229. ---. Poems. Poetry: A Magazine of Verse 4.1 (April 1914): 60-64. ---. The Audience II. Poetry: A Magazine of Verse 5.1 (October 1914): 31-32. ---. Notes. Poetry: A Magazine of Verse 5.4 (March 1915): 301. Pan, Yuan, and Pan Jie. The Non-Official Magazine Today and the Younger Generations Ideals for a New Literature. After Mao Chinese Literature and Society 1978-1981 Ed. Jeffery C. Kinkly. Cambridge: Harvard U P, 1985. Phillips, William F. World Literature in Review: Chinese. World Literature Today 69.3 (Summer 1995): 645-647. Porter, David. Ideographia: The Chinese Cipher in Early Modern Europe Stanford: Standford U P, 2001. Pound, Ezra. A Few Donts by an Imagiste. Poetry: A Magazine of Verse 1.6 (March 1913): 200-206. ---. Editors Comment: The Tradition. Poetry: A Magazine of Verse 3.4 (January 1914): 137-141. ---. Aby SalammammA Song of Empire. Poetry: A Magazine of Verse 2.1 (April 1914): 176-177. ---. The Audience I. Poetry: A Magazine of Verse 5.1 (October 1914): 29-30. ---. Exiles Letter. Poetry: A Magazine of Verse 5.4 (March 1915): 200-206. ---. A Memoir of Gaudier-Brzeska New York: New Directions, 1970. ---. Collected Early Poems of Ezra Pound Introduction by Loius L. Martz, Ed. Michael King. New York: New Directions, 1976.

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42 ---. The Cantos of Ezra Pound New York: New Directions, 1993. Pound, Omar, and A. Walton Litz. Ezra Pound and Dorothy Shakespear: Their Letters: 1909-1914 New York: New Directions, 1984. Pratt, Mary Louise. Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation New York: Routledge, 1992. Pratt, William. Ezra Pound and the Image. Ezra Pound: The London Years 1908-1920 Ed. Philip Grover. New York: AMS Press, 1978. Rae, Patricia The Practical Muse: Pragmatist Poetics in Hume, Pound, and Stevens Lewisburg: Bucknell U P. 1997. Qian, Zhaoming. Orientalism and Modernism: the Legacy of China in Pound and Williams Durham: Duke U P, 1995. Peng, Shaojian. The Subject-Object Oneness and the Generative Mechanism of Poetry Images. Ningbo University Journal 1(1990): 53-62. Said, Edward. Orientalism New York: Vintage Books, 1978. Selinker, L. Interlanguage. International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching 10 (1978): 209-231. Shi, Zhongquan. Renew Study, Follow Great Revolutionary Changes. Beijing Ribao [ Beijing Daily ] 4 Jan 1979. Tang, Xiaobing. Residual Modernism: Narratives of the Self in Contemporary Chinese Fiction. Modern Chinese Literature 7.1 (1993 Spring): 7-32. Tang, Xiaobing. Global Space and the Nationalist Discourse of Modernity Stanford: Stanford U P, 1996. Tang, Xiaobing, and Arif Dirlik, eds. Politics, Ideology and Literary Discourse in Modern China Durham: Duke U P. 1993. Tang, Zhengxu, and Chen Houcheng. 20 Shiji Zhongguo Wenxue Yu Xifang Xiandaizhuyi Sichao [ Twentieth Century Chinese Literature and Western Modernism ]. Chengdu: Sichuan Renmin Chubanshe, 1992. Tay, William. Obscure Poetry: A Controversy in Post-Mao China. After Mao Chinese Literature and Society 1978-1981 Ed. Jeffery C. Kinkly. Cambridge: Harvard U P, 1985.

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43 Tuchman, Barbara. Stillwell and the American Experience in China, 1911-1945 New York: Macmillan, 1970. Upward, Allen. Scented LeavesFrom a Chinese Jar. Poetry: A Magazine of Verse 2.6 (September 1913): 191-199. Wang, Jing. High Culture Fever. Politics, Aesthetics, and Ideology in Dengs China Berkeley: U of California P, 1996. Wang, Jinhou. Wu Si Xin Wen Xue Yu Wai Guo Wen Xue [ May Fifth New Literature and Foreign Literature ]. Chengdu: Sichuan Daxue Chu Ban She, 1995. Wang, Lina. "The Publication and Influence of Tang Poetry Abroad." China Publications 3-4 (1991); rprt in New China Digest (1991): 206-10. Wang, Zuoliang. Degrees of Affinity, Studies in Comparative Literature. Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching Press, 1985. Wilson, Peter. A Preface to Ezra Pound New York: Longman, 1997. Wollen, Peter. Raiding the Icebox: Reflections on Twentieth-Century Culture Bloomington: Indiana U P, 1993. Wu, Guoxia. Partys Emphasis on Work to Be Shifted to Modernization, Construction. Guangdong Nanfang Ribao [ Southern Guangdong Daily ] 9 Jun 1979: 3. Xiao, Yin. The Leadership Should Liberalize Their Minds a Little Further. Beijing Ribao [ Beijing Daily ] 10 Jan 1979. Xie, Ming. Ezra Pound and the Appropriation of Chinese Poetry: Cathay, Translation, and Imagism New York: Garland Publishing, Inc, 1999. Yan, Yuejun, ed. Hou Menglong Shi Xuan Shenyang Shi: Chun Feng Wen Yi Chu Ban She, 1994. ---. Menglong Shi Xuan. Shenyang Shi: Chun Feng Wen Yi Chu Ban She, 1985. Yeh, Michelle, ed. Anthology of Modern Chinese Poetry New Haven: Yale U P, 1992. ---. Light a Lamp in a Rock: Experimental Poetry in Contemporary China. Modern China 18.4 (Oct 1992): 379-410. ---. The Cult of Poetry in Contemporary China. Journal of Asian Studies 15.1 (Feb 1996): 51-80. Yip, Wai-Lim. Ezra Pounds Cathay Princeton: Princeton U P, 1969.

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44 ---. Lyrics from Shelters: Modern Chinese Poetry 1930-1950 New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1992. Zhang Longxi. Western Theory and Chinese Reality. Critical Inquiry 19 (1992): 105130.

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45 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH James Innis McDougall was born in Victoria, British Columbia in the year of our Lord 1974. Since that time he has spent many hours learning from Prince Edward Island brook trout, and staring at the corners of many different ceilings, trying to understand principles of the line. Countless highway miles in between have effortlessly reconstituted space around him. Several countries have allowed him to drift around the streets of their cities like a sleeping cloud across brilliant skies. Gan Liulu, Family, friends, strangers, hoary faced Russian writers, Rhinish Medieval mystics, alcoholics and dropouts, soldiers and sailors, modernists that oppose modernity, poets and great doubters, warriors despising war, vegetation springing from deep August heat, the ice pack of a Buffalo gray winter, and all our glorious dead have produced a love that sustains him, and a stability stronger than fate. He has learned essential movements of the cosmos from the color of the sea. Ian, Robert, William, Duncan, Ali and Brian, and his father and mother made him what he is. Gan Liulu made him what he is to become. He studied Europe from the back of an R-5. He studied America from the Great Lakes to the Bronx. He studied English Literature from SUNY Buffalo. He has earned meager sums of money at dairy farms, pizzerias, drive-in movie theatres, scarified clear-cuts in the jack pine/black spruce ocean of northern Ontario, English teaching institutes in Pusan Korea, the basement of a Rochester radio factory, a few months in the libraries (and chemistry labs) of Chapel Hill. He has been to the highest places of his life in China and has come down into the swamps of Florida. There he goes by the grace of God.


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AT THE CROSSROADS OF CULTURE: THE INTERSECTION OF
INTERLANGUAGE, RESIDUAL MODERNISM, AND NOMADIC HYBRIDITY IN
BEI DAO AND EZRA POUND'S MODERNIST POETICS















BY

JAMES INNIS MCDOUGALL


A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF ARTS

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2003

































Copyright 2003

by

James Innis McDougall















ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Thanks to 11il .',; whose love and support helped me to unlock these words.
















TABLE OF CONTENTS
page

A CKN OW LED GM EN TS ............... ......... ..... .................. ........... iii

ABSTRACT............................................................. v

CHAPTER

1 INTRODUCTION................... ............................................... 1

2 ARRIVALS AND DEPARTURES................................................... 4

3 MODERNIST INTERLANGUAGE ............................. .......................12

4 RESIDUAL MODERNISM........................................... ...............16

5 OBSERVING PERFORMANCE ........... .....................................23

6 NOMADIC HYBRIDITY..........................................................31

7 C O N C LU SIO N .............................................................. ........... 37

L IST O F R EFER EN CE S ...................................................... .................................. 38

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .. ..... ................................................... .............. 45




















iv















Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts

AT THE CROSSROADS OF CULTURE: THE INTERSECTION OF
INTERLANGUAGE, RESIDUAL MODERNISM, AND NOMADIC HYBRIDITY IN
BEI DAO AND EZRA POUND'S MODERNIST POETICS

By

James McDougall

May 2003

Chair: Marsha Bryant
Major Department: English

The main thrust of this thesis is answering the question: when poets attempt to use

voices and styles outside of their immediate cultural location, what sense can we make

out of the cultural artifact that they produce? To answer this question the imagist poetry

of Ezra Pound as well as the misty poetry of Bei Dao are both investigated, concentrating

on the cross-cultural aspects of their poetry. The paper takes three different approaches to

analyze the way that cross-cultural material is used in poetry: interlanguage, residual

modernism, and nomadic hybridity. As such linguistic, literary, and cultural studies are

employed to show how poetry challenges the boundaries of a national aesthetic and

participates in redefining what those boundaries might mean.














CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

Bei Dao and Ezra Pound make good subjects for re-evaluating theories of cross-

cultural appropriation-a topic fraught with political implications-because both have

written poetry questioning concepts of "foreign" and "national" to the extent that their

poetry serves an indexical function, marking aesthetic changes in literary modernism.

Their lives, too, as ex-patriots and exiles, have established each poet as representative

figures of twentieth century hybridity and displacement. One of Ezra Pound's noteworthy

projects, even before he published the 1915 collection of Chinese poems, Cathay, was

rethinking English language poetry as it refracted through cultural indices, from medieval

Italian poetry to Chinese. He later established theories of poetics and language based on

Chinese ideographic writing. Out of a radically different context Bei Dao, resisting the

proscriptive ideological constraints of the Gang of Four at the end of Chairman Mao's

regime, wrote poetry using techniques and aesthetic principles associated with English

language high modernist poetry. The implication of Bei Dao as writing like a "westerner"

has come about through criticism from Chinese government officials, as well as a his

effort to write and publish in an idiom other than the didactic slogan-saturated

revolutionary romanticism and social realism. Moreover, Bei Dao is writing out of a

tradition-residual forms of literary modernism had been an important part of Chinese

avant-garde poetry movements throughout the twentieth century.

This thesis will show how the two poets are writing in response to their historical

context through a dynamic complex, involving interlanguage, residual modernism, and









nomadic hybridity. Just as these intersecting ideas form a crossroads of diverging

political and critical theories, the poetry of Bei Dao and Ezra Pound can also be

represented by the figure of the crossroads. The crossroads is a place for congregation,

commerce, and changes of direction, thus, serves as a starting point for our discussion on

Ezra Pound and Bei Dao's poetry.

The critical pathways that intersect here are informed by linguistics and

postcolonial theory. The term "interlanguage" is an important concept in language

acquisition studies, which assumes that the learner's language is a linguistic theory of the

language that the learner is trying to speak. That is to say that the utterances of a language

learner are not wild and random, but a way of knowing. Linguists, such as Chomsky and

Selinker, also claim the language learner's interlanguage output has two components,

performance and competence. In this paper we will look at possible literary applications,

concentrating on the aspects of interlanguage performance. The term residual modernity,

as used by the scholar Xiaobing Tang to describe the modernist techniques employed by

Chinese fiction writers in the 1980s, resonates with the work of postcolonial theorists like

Chakrabarty and Duara who have been working with problems of historiography. They

look at ways to bifurcate a Euro-centric historiography that is popularly conceived of as a

natural development. At the same time they try to avoid reconstructing a narrative of

history with an equally totalizing discourse. To attack this problem is to attack some of

the popular, and somewhat invisible ways that history appears to be a natural evolution,

or an all-embracing process (the Hegelian model, for instance). Finally, the term nomadic

hybridity refers specifically to the concept established by the theorists Deleuze and

Guattari. For instance, in A Thousand Plateaus, they try to establish a theoretical






3


framework for the role of the nomad in the nation state through a historiography of the

nomad. Here the term will apply to the literal movement of the poets and the figurative

movements within their poetry in relation to mass social movements. The figure of

nomadic hybridity is a longstanding tradition imbricated in both Chinese and Anglo-

American culture, which will be seen in Qu Yuan-an exiled poet statesman who writes

in a hybrid style poetry and in a symbolic gesture sacrifices himself.















CHAPTER 2
ARRIVALS AND DEPARTURES

Pound's university training was philology. He left his studies for Edwardian

London in 1908, disgusted with the academy. The academic discipline of studying and

comparing languages, however, is implicated in his fearless translations of cross-cultural

forms from the Troubadour poets to the early Saxons. Working with T.E. Hulme and

other poets in London's avant-garde literary salons, Pound inculcated the foundational

principles of the Imagist school soon after arriving in England. It was Hulme, a student of

Bergson and heavily influenced by continental modernists, who in a 1910 lecture on

modern art said that "the mystery of things is no longer perceived as action but as

impression," he also said that art "no longer deals with heroic action, it has become

definitely and finally introspective and deals with momentary phases in the poet's

mind"(qtd. in Pratt, 21). The group experimented with vers libre and short forms, like the

haiku.

Deleuze and Guattari describe the writing of Kafka, using the metaphor of music

to posit that a minor literature resembles a minor chord: "as though music set out on a

journey and garnered all resurgences, phantoms of the Orient, imaginary lands, traditions

from all over" (Delueze and Guitari 95). From this criticism we not only see how the

"Orient" is a continuation of several problems Looking at Pound's contribution to the

March 1913 edition of Poetry Magazine, we see him establishing these kinds of qualities

in his poetry, the titles include: "Tenzone," "The Garret," "Dance Figure," "Pax Saturni,"









"A Pact," and "In a Station of the Metro." One of the best examples of this can be found

in "In a Station of the Metro," a poem that has been dissected and labeled to the extent

that it serves metonymically as the imagist school: "The apparition of these faces in the

crowd/Petals on a wet black bough." Dropping the copula from the metaphor, instead of

syntax, parataxis creates the discursive continuum. The platform of the metro station

provides the bricolage where the people of the city, rich and poor, foreigners and

nationals, comers and goers are momentarily united underground by modern

transportation. The metro serves as a place of journey (divergence) as well as community

(convergence) in a juxtaposed collage. The composition of daily experience living in the

cosmopolitan city (any city at the time big enough to support a subway system) is one of

constant parataxis.

Taking into account the theme/rheme argument, which states that word order

determines the "point of departure"(Celce-Murcia and Larson-Freeman 22) of a clause,

"[t]he apparition" suggests that "these faces" are less important than the sudden

appearance of the supernatural. The haunting is caused on one hand by the immanent

beauty of the faces suddenly precipitated from the crowd. On the other hand the people

are haunted by the organizing principles of the cosmopolitan city that forces people

underground, like souls in a Greek hell. William Pratt points out that Pound re-uses the

"Metro" formulation in his Cantos to describe both heaven and hell (26).

The poem is also haunted by "phantoms of the Orient." Not only does the form

borrow from the Japanese haiku, the content uses a motif of classical Chinese ink brush

painting: "Petals on a wet black bough." Eisenstein in his "The Cinematographic

Principle and The Ideogram," discussing the Japanese approach to painting a cherry









branch, points out that the artist will "frame the shot"(41). Eisenstein writing in 1930

seems to refer specifically to this poem as a prototypical montage. First, the image that

Pound provides does not allow the reader to view the entire shrubbery. He cuts it, leaving

only the bough and petals. Next, Pound's editing also includes a cut from the crowd in

the familiar "station" to the ink brush painting. The ink brush painting is the framing

device that situates the faces and the crowd within the image. This construction

juxtaposes exterior and interior, nature and modernity, familiar and foreign.

Imagist poets and Anglo-American poets in general were able to make a tradition

out of literary modernism, that is to say they were heavily influenced by the French

symbolists, yet they manage to clear out a space for critical difference. This can be seen

not only in Hulme, but also in Pound's study of Gauttier (Homberger 13). Baudelaire,

twenty years prior, in addition to writing about the "orient" and "exotic," often writes

about the city through the eyes of the flanneur, strolling about the avenues of Paris.

"Metro" certainly has this quality. The poem seems like a casual observation that a city

walker might make, using an artist's eye to appreciate the experience of being in the

metro. The poem also has a sense of Mallarme's vigorous phrasing. In addition the haiku

form has a vers libre quality, which at the time was foreign to English poetry. In fact, it

was a concept so revolutionary to English poetry that throughout much of the twentieth

century the easily translatable term remained French, non? This combination of the city

walker seeing the vision of the oriental print in a crowd of people, during an unprivileged

moment in the metro intensifies the haunting. Deleuze describes this situation as it exists

in a minor literature as: "be[ing] a foreigner, but in one's own tongue, not only when

speaking a language other than one's own. .. is when style becomes a language" (98).









Style becomes language in poetry, because it is part of the poet's "enunciation" or

"performance." As such, the "Metro" poem has haunted poetic language since 1913.

The poem "In a Station of the Metro," in terms of literary history, performs as the

station where Ezra Pound arrived as an imagist. It also serves as a point of departure that

would take him across the across the classical Chinese literary landscape as we see in the

re-worked translations that he included as representative pieces of imagism in the 1914

Des Imagistes anthology.

Moving across time and space to 1970s Mainland China, Bei Dao wrote one of

his most famous poems, "The Answer" ("[ H Huidd). It was an enigmatic answer to

the poetry and politics during the oppressive regime of the Gang of Four:


1. ,' i i,' Debasement is the password of the base,
S,. ,* i'1 '- Nobility the epitaph of the noble.
APE, 1,.i Jl. :11 'i 1, See how the gilded sky is covered
*11 il With the drifting twisted shadows of the dead
(August Sleepwalker 35, lines 1-4)

The first four lines consist of a parallel construction of two definitions followed by two

lines containing a single image. The poem is written in quatrains with an abab end-rhyme

structure ("iE" zheng and "tf" zhong are off-rhymes, while "W"ming and "I" ying are

feminine rhymes). On the surface of the poem, the ideas are syntactically disconnected;

the structure of the verse allows for parataxis as the ideas to comment on each other. The

tone is decidedly eulogistic as even the sky, ," dijin (gilded) artificially golden"

does not house the "rising sun" (a common revolutionary motif used to represent

Chairman Mao), but rather "drifting twisted shadows of the dead." The translation reads "

0 l] "djoying as "shadows," but can also be translated as "reflection in water" or

"inverted image." This play on surfaces transforms clouds into an image of an image of









the dead. In this simulacrum "nobility" is only a simulation of an ontological "noble"-

ness, and, thus, its "epitaph." All that is left is the "gilded sky" and "debasement." When

compared to the state-proscribed1 literature, the content in the poem is radical, unfamiliar,

and not a little obscure.

"The Answer" began circulating during the first Tiananmen incident of 1976 (the

April Fifth Movement). People gathered at the square during the Qingming festival

bringing eulogies and funeral wreathes to mourn the death of the extremely popular

premier, Zhou Enlai. The gathering was also an implicit critique of "the gang of four"

and the ailing Chairman Mao's leadership of the Cultural Revolution. In this context, the

allusion to "nobility" and "debasement" corresponds to revolutionary idealism, and the

realities of the Cultural Revolution. With the April Fifth movement as the milieu, the

performative value of the poem can be found in its cutting irony, and critique of

degenerating culture. The poem as a performance in an event that served as both protest

and eulogy explains some of the reason for ambiguity; a direct affront to authority

yielded severe consequences. At the same time, the poem radiates the high modernist

"imperious gesture of the charismatic Master" (Jameson 2). The syntactic disconnects in

Bei Dao's early verse represent the available linguistic space that existed outside of the

Party's political speak. Bei Dao and the avant-garde poets searched out a linguistic

response to the crisis of expression, and the disconnected syntax is evidence of the

linguistic repression of the time. As such Bei Dao finds a literary modernism within the



1 In his famous Yan'an address, Chairman Mao declared all literature must be a aid the proletariat
revolution, calcifying an official state proscription that all literary styles must either conform to the
conventions of social realism or revolutionary romanticism. Chairman Mao said literature must "operate as
powerful weapons for uniting and educating the people and for attacking and destroying the enemy, and
that they help the people fight the enemy with one heart and one mind" (Mao 567).









cultural context of the Cultural Revolution not as an imitation or appropriation of

Western Modernism, but a use of language in response to the historical moment. Jacques

Derrida suggests that Ezra Pound and Mallarme are prototypical grammatologists who

established a "graphic poetics" in order to break the "entrenched Western traditions" (92).

Likewise, Bei Dao, searches out language beyond an entrenched system, and in the

process significantly alters the poetic landscape.

In the first verse of the answer, the "debasement"/"nobility" opposition, in terms

of class and class consciousness, deviates from the ideologically "pure" revolutionary

romanticism poetry, and is a topic that Bei Dao treats with ambivalence. Like Gu Cheng,

Mang Ke, and other poets that emerged from the Cultural Revolution in the Beijing

literary scene, Bei Dao found the project of building a new aesthetics more important if

not completely separate from politics. For example, Mang Ke said, "Poems, after all, are

not popular cookbooks" (Pan 199). Rey Chow sums up the attitude of these Chinese

artists as follows:

Contrary to orthodox Socialist beliefs, the protest made in contemporary Chinese
popular culture is that such collectivization of human lives is what produces the
deepest alienation ever, because it turns human labor into the useful job that we
are performing for that 'other' known as the collective, the country, the people,
and so forth. (Chow 469)

This ambivalence attains a fuller expression in the poem "Declaration" that was

published two years after "The Answer," where Bei Dao claims, "In an age without

heroes/I just want to be a man" (August Sleepwalker, lines 5-6). We are faced with the

tension between the loss of the "heroic" and everyday mind of the individual, resonating

with Hulme's pronouncement on modern art. The avant-garde movement in which Bei

Dao took part was an elite group reshaping a national aesthetic, while at the same time









having a certain degree of "radical chic," putting the poets in a position similar to the

imagists as "profoundly contradictory: at once revolutionary and reactionary"

(Homberger 6). "The Answer" projects some of this complexity onto the sky, which

starts out a Tartarus of shades and then changes to a starlit expanse of the "watchful eyes

of future generations" (line 28).

The movement Ezra Pound makes in remodeling modernity (the metro) into

vegetation (petals and bough) exudes an aesthetic that is foreign yet familiar. Bei Dao

also provides a similar uncanny foreign in the everyday by constructing a defiant

subjectivity in a literary climate where the "I" had almost completely disappeared. In

1983, during the anti-"Spiritual Pollution" Campaign debates over the legitimacy of a

Chinese modernism, the poet Xu Jinya expressed his support for the new aesthetic

possibilities that literary modernism offered. He claims that the new poetry is, "the exact

opposite of all poetry since 1949: it has clear syllable images; the entire mood is obscure,

the internal rhythm violent" (qtd. in Larson 52). Xu also notes that the beginning of the

new style of poetry began in 1976 during the Tiananmen incident at the height of China's

repression of foreign influences (Larson 53). It seems that Xu has Bei Dao's "The

Answer" in mind. The parataxis, obscurity, and the focus on the image relate to the very

roots of Anglo-American London avant-garde in the early 1910s even though the poem

does something completely different than the poem "In a Station of the Metro." For

example, as "The Answer" continues, a subjective "I" emerges with a prophetic voice

having "to proclaim before the judgment/the voice that has been judged" (lines 15-16).

The poet proclaims: "I don't believe the sky is blue/I don't believe in thunder's echoes/I

don't believe that dreams are false/I don't believe that death has no revenge" (lines 17-






11


20). These statements move from rationalistic toward intuitive thinking, and tend toward

a complexity that stylistically echoes the poem's resistance to simplistic ideologically

"pure" slogans, and state-proscribed forms. These statements in their naked declarative

mood are something we rarely see in Anglo-American high modernism without highly

ironic or hopelessly unreliable personae.















CHAPTER 3
MODERNIST INTERLANGUAGE

The reason for this juxtaposition of two very different poets from two different

places and times is that their names have already been spliced together in interweaving

narratives of modernism, translation, and appropriation. Both have become notable

figures through poetry, gathering talent, editing, and compiling poetry for publication.

They prove that the greater talent of modern poetry is not producing words on the page as

much as producing poetry in the sense of the film producer producing a film. One of the

few critical texts to put Bei Dao and Ezra Pound on the same page is Chen Xiaomei in

her book Occidentalism. She problematizes Said's seminal text Orientalism by showing

how after the Liberation of 1949 official, artistic, and academic discourses reconstructed

the West to reinforce as well as oppose an entrenched linguistic regime. She devotes a

whole chapter on the "misunderstanding of Western modernism," where she plays on the

"creative misunderstanding" criticism of Pound's "ideographic" poetics (73). Using Chen

Xiaomei's point that these discourses of misunderstanding are mutual, we engage the

question of interlanguage.

When poets attempt to use voices and styles that exist outside of their immediate

cultural location, what sense can we make out of the cultural artifact that they produce?

One way to approach the question is to view poetry as an event that occurs in language.

Thus, it follows that the poet's understanding of a culture, to the point that it becomes a









theory, forms what language acquisition studies call an interlanguage.1 The interlanguage

is the language learner's language distinct from the native language and the target

language. It not an inherently biological ability to process and produce a poetic grammar,

but a site of mediation between the poet's imperfect understanding of a second culture,

and the possibilities that exist in creating art. Whether the source of inspiration comes

from ancient Greece or China, the poet's understanding of that literary heritage

determines its application to literary production. "Interlanguage" is the term that Selinker

applies to language learning that refers directly to Chomsky's "theory of language

learning. .. an internal representation of a system of rules that determine how sentences

are to be formed, used, and understood" (Chomsky 25). Along with this idea, Chomsky

offers two terms, "performance" and "competence": two separate ways of evaluating

language acquisition (25). By applying the concept of interlanguage to the appropriation

of cultural artifacts, ranging from Ancient Greek architecture to early Tang Chinese

lyrical poems, we can see that the understanding of the building or the verse when graded

on a level of competence may seem lacking, and dependant on the artist's understanding

of the history, culture, and the form itself. Because the artist's audience does not include

the ancients, the mastery of reproducing a traditional form as understood in the conditions

in which it was originally produced remains secondary to the purpose for which such a

project is undertaken. Instead the performance or the use of this cross-cultural model in

producing an aesthetic or political effect is the critical factor. Just as learning a second

language creates insights into the paradigms and structures of the first language, the



1 Selinker introduced this term in his 1972 article "Interlanguage" to describe the learner's language that is
different from both the native language and the target language. The term conceptually follows Chomsky's
theory of language acquisition, see Aspects of the Theory ofSyntax.









learning of a cross-cultural aesthetics reveals cultural possibilities and limitations. These

possibilities and limitations in English language literary production are foregrounded in

the experiments of literary modernism; to quote Eliot's "Prufrock," "It is impossible to

say just what I mean/ but as if some magic lantern tossed the nerves in images upon a

screen."

Transcribing a poetics across cultural boundaries shows how a poet identifies the

extent to which culture is always hybrid and in flux, and uses this fact as a way of

rethinking cultural paradigms and conventions. This performance functions similar to de

Certeau's argument for a non-linguistic "enunciation," which involves the "realization of

the linguistic system that actualizes some of its potential," as well as the "appropriation

of language by the speaker who uses it," and the "organization of a temporality. .. and

the existence of a 'now' which is the presence to the world"(33). As such, the conditions

for performance require residual materials from which to draw. They lie embedded in the

syntax of material culture beneath the ken of cultural consciousness from centuries of

familiarity that the regular ebbs and floods of commerce, war, hospitality, and empire

continually bring home (such as the habit of drinking of tea, or in the circulation of silver

through different economies). In literary modernism the foreign surfaces in unexpected

ways, such as T.S. Eliot's Buddhism, and Ezra Pound's Confucianism. Both are informed

by their respective interlanguage, which mediates a performance of their respective

artistic and political statement. Buddhism and Confucianism become a polemical

positioning of values that are foreign to both the domestic audience as well as the

traditions from which they are derived. Using the high modernist voice and wasteland

images Bei Dao is able to perform a poetic speech act, that at once criticizes the









saccharine revolutionary romanticism, as well as speak in a new and innovative way. But

Bei Dao's modernism is something different from the elite Anglo-American literary

modernism of the early twentieth century.

When Ezra Pound says that there is a "new Greece" in China (Qian 18), he

speaks neither of geography, nor an algebraic genealogy that modern Americans or

Europeans could trace back to a cultural and intellectual "home." Instead the statement

acknowledges that the identification of Classical Greek texts as the spring that feeds the

stream of European and American culture not only privileges those texts, but also is both

arbitrary and limiting. The polemics of situating modem European and American cultural

heritage in China involves an argument against a historiography of progress, which is an

ideology that understood "Western Culture" as resulting from a natural evolution of

dominant cultures from imperial Greece and Rome, to imperial England and America.

Pound suggests that the identification of England or America with a Classical Greek past

is an artifice that leads down a blind alley, or at least, as seen during the first two decades

of the twentieth century, several blind trenches. Pound's "new Greece" is a rethinking of

cultural hybridity, not as bastardization or cultural hijacking, but as an aesthetic

opportunity. It also marks a change from colonial discourses where "Chinese" is coded as

inscrutable. Instead Pound's "Chinese" is something vital and necessary. Finally, it

provincializes Europe, lightening the weight and temporality of a Euro-centric universe,

and allowing for new possibilities and aesthetic experiences. The discovery of the

Chinese print in the metro is akin to Homberger's idea that: "It was the discovery of

modernity within Edwardian culture itself which seems such a remarkable phenomenon"

(14).















CHAPTER 4
RESIDUAL MODERNISM

Theorizing the experimentation that Chinese fiction writers were making with

form in the early eighties, Xiaobing Tang applies the term "residual modernism." This

term describes writers who deal with the issues of modernity, like tradition, economy,

and national identity through identifiable discourses of literary modernism:

Residual Modernism in China, furthermore, appears to be not merely a
transplantation of modernist techniques, but also a repetition of a modernist ethos
and even themes, only in a much more intensified and self-conscious form.
("Residual Modernism" 10)

This concept asserts that the "repetition" is something other than mechanical

reproduction of modernist texts, and stresses performance over competency (if not

drudgery) of copying, say, The Cantos. Residual modernism is found within Pound's "In

a Station of the Metro" and in the imagist movement in general. The movement found a

greater linguistic intensity and a heightened "self-consciousness" through ideas already

existing. In this regard, modernism itself is a play on the pastiche, problematizing the

aesthetics that have gone into defining post-modernism. Additionally, identifying the

location from which the works are being transplanted becomes a messy business to

explain. This problem exists in literary modernists like Amy Lowell, T.S. Eliot, and Ezra

Pound where the aesthetics are heavily determined by the transplanting of foreign cultural

artifacts. It is also found in Matisse and Picasso's painting and sculpture, as well as

Eisenstein's theories of film. Is this simply a continuing of Orientalist discourses, or does









can it represent something different? One explanation comes from Peter Wollen who

shows how the cross-cultural materials figured by the French surrealists:

For Breton, the fact that reactionaries consistently warned against the danger of
Oriental influence, as they warned against any threat to the stability of their own
Western culture, simply meant that those who themselves wished to destabilize
the dominant culture could and should make use of the myth of the Orient as they
might an other potentially subversive force. This concept of the Orient was the
rallying cry for those who wanted to create an alternative aesthetic, which stood
apart from the binary opposition of Western modernism and social change versus
Western academicism and the ancien regime. (26)

That is to say that by adopting a phrase, pattern, image, or narrative strategy the writer

chooses a way of clearing out a discursive space. It marks the poet's becoming rather

than a deterministic ontological historiography. As in the case of language acquisition

studies, interlanguage either goes toward language via performance or it atrophies.

Literary history is very much at fault for reinforcing the binaries involved in a

cross-cultural aesthetics by framing literary innovations with a model that naturalizes a

history of development. The historiography of development suggests there is natural

evolution of writing; thus, literary modernism comes after the Victorian period and

before postmodernism. From the fallen towers of postmodernism we find our current

"state" of evolution, whatever you might wish to call it-post-postmodernism is it? More

accurately, residual modernism, as a performance of becoming helps to disrupt the

concept of literary modernism as a homogenous, hermeneutic literary era. Residual

modernism re-conceptualizes their work as a condition of and a response to modernity.

This also explains why there are so many conflicting narratives of modernity, making the

term slippery.

One narrative of literary modernism follows a postcolonial reading where the

invisible circuits of colonial administration are foregrounded. Said's Orientalism depicts









ways in which cultural interaction between Asia and "The West" has been mediated by

networks of imperial administration, coercion, and domination, that have been

supplemented with a massive academic and missionary project. This accounts for much

of the European and American presence in China at the beginning of the twentieth

century. The year 1900 marked the end of the Boxer Rebellion, among other things.

According to a journalistic accounts the 19,000 soldiers in the allied forces that Europe

and America sent to crush the rebellion were relentless in exacting revenge: "Every town,

every village, every peasant's hut in the path of the troops was first looted and then

burned" (qtd. in Tuchman 33). After the six armies smashed the anti-foreigner Boxers,

they imposed indemnities on the Qing administration for "crimes 'against civilization'

and crimes against the nation" (Tuchman 33).

This outrageous miscarriage of power and domination was continual as it was a

continuation of Orientalist discourses that involved "civilizing" and "teaching lessons" to

"uncivilized" countries. Here, too, is the historiography of progress cementing an

ideology. The events of the Boxer rebellion also facilitated an increased flow of Chinese

cultural items to England, like the scrolls that were collected in the British Museum.

There, in the British Museum, Ezra Pound would frequent, often dining at a nearby cafe

with Binyon, the British Museum curator who promoted exhibitions and lectures on

Chinese and Japanese art (Qian 13). The culture of China moving into the center of

London would have a profound effect on Anglo-American poetry.

The translations, reworking of translations, and imitations of Chinese poetry from

the time of Pound onward often appeared in an anti-colonial context in Anglo-American

poetry. Poetry as "performance" can be seen in the strains of this anti-imperial sentiment









found in Ezra Pound's Cathay. For example, "The Bowmen of Shu" depicts forlorn

soldiers in a far imperial outpost stricken by hunger and homesickness. Later in the

poetry of the San Francisco renaissance of the 1950s and 60s, this positioning of Chinese

poetry as having an anti-war connotation appeared again, particularly in the work of

Allen Ginsburg and Gary Snyder. Through these poems China works as a way of clearing

out a space outside of conventional poetics, if not politics, as seen in Fenollosa's

notebooks: "The duty that faces us is not to batter down their forts or exploit their

markets... [w]e need their best ideals to supplement our own"(4). This notion parallels

statements made by Bei Dao and other Chinese writers of the late 1970s and early 1980s

about the possibilities of an applied "Western Modernism." Pound's persona, Mauberly,

lamented a breakdown in culture and looked beyond England to find it. Pound did not

have to travel to China; the cultural artifacts were residing in the British Museum. In fact,

David Porter, in his Ideographia: The Chinese Cipher in Early Modern Europe, shows

how Chinese cultural artifacts have been a part of British commodity and intellectual

culture for over four centuries.

In the very same century that saw massive social rifts and unprecedented

economic and technological changes in Europe and America, China experienced a series

of unparalleled upheavals. Throughout the twentieth century, Chinese literature was

marked by avant-garde literary movements that translated, studied, and incorporated

stylistic innovations from foreign literature. These movements used the appropriations as

a means of clearing out a space to express a unique condition of modernity. From the

May Fourth Movement in 1919 continuing to the late 1970s and early 1980s democracy









movements, avant-garde literary circles employed modernism as a critique to oppose

dominant discourses, and as established aesthetic opportunities.

The narrative of "learning from the West to defeat the West," beginning with the

Opium War, was later to be repeated by the invasion of the Six Armies in the Boxer

Rebellion and again during the Japanese invasion. For example, Li Hongsheng in a 1979

Guandong Ribao article summarizes a conference of historians who were outlining

"China's Learning from the West"; in the article Li states that the historians identify the

end of the Opium War through to the 1870s as the time when pioneers first "perceived

China's backwardness," thus, beginning the "modern" age of China (3). The perception

of "backwardness" and "humiliation" versus "modern" becomes part of the poet's

"interlanguage," and mediates the performance of using literary modernism as an

aesthetic. The attitude toward "Westernization" as a way of strengthening China, coupled

by the presence of European, Russian, American, and Japanese imperial administrative

networks and infrastructure (schools, missionaries, printing presses), had, in addition to a

large translation project, created a linguistic hybridity that would alter not only the

literary aesthetic but also the Chinese language itself. Early twentieth century Chinese

iconoclastic avant-garde literary movements, which formed a hybrid style of content and

form, appeared roughly contemporaneous with the high modernists. By the time Bei Dao

emerged as one of the key figures in the menglong group, techniques and ethos of literary

modernism had already been used as a tactic in Chinese literature and literary movements

for over sixty years. As a performance, the menglong poets' use of literary modernist

techniques was a statement (artistic and political), which can be seen as a response to the

Gang of Four's mono-logic demands for an ideologically pure language.









The term menglong can mean either "obscure" or "misty," and there is a tradition

of menglong as "misty" poetry dating back to the ninth century Tang dynasty poet, Li

Shangyin. The menglong poetry of the late 1970s early 1980s, however, according to

Michelle Yeh, receives its name from a negative review by a critic Zhang Ming who

wrote an article called "The Infuriating Menglong," criticizing their work as "obscure"

("Light a Lamp" 385). Tang Zhengxu, a scholar from Mainland China, points out that the

target of this attack was not the major menglong poets of the time (Bei Dao, Shu Ting, or

Gu Cheng), but rather Yuan Kejia and the Jiuye (Nine Leaf) group that formed in the

1940s. This group was heavily influenced by T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound, and even wrote

articles on poetics of the image (Tang 523). Tang suggests that the Yuan Kejia and the

Jiuye group deeply influenced the sensibilities of the menglong poets (523). Members of

this group met in Xinan Lianda (Southwest Associated University) in Kunming during

the Japanese invasion, where several famous modernist poets, like Feng Zhi and Bian

Zhilin, held teaching posts, and the American modernist poet and critic William Empson

lectured from 1938-1939 (Yip, Lyrics From .,\helhli 49). Later Yuan Kejia became the

compiler of the first anthology of Western modernism that was published in China during

the early 1980s (Tang 523). Before the Cultural Revolution in the early 1960s, the Jiuye

group translated books that "systematically introduced Western modernist literature" (Bei

Dao, "Translation Style" 63). These books were only available to Party cadres; yet during

"the chaos of the Cultural Revolution," they began to spread out to the "educated" youth,

and, according to Bei Dao, provided a necessary basis for the birth of underground

literature (63). As far as influence is concerned, there had been an internalization and

codification of Western modernism (which included everything from Kafka to Lorca to









Camus) within elite poetry circles in China after the Cultural Revolution. Though critics

like William Tay marvel at the imagist quality of Gu Cheng's poems (Tay 139)-Gu

Cheng had never read any of the imagists. The fact that the ideas of imagism had been

circulating amid Chinese intellectuals and literary elites for sixty years should change the

inquiry from "how are the characteristics of the two different poetic movements so

similar?" to "what were the different poetic movements doing with the similar styles of

literature?" And even more fundamentally, since the ideas of imagism were sustained

through classical Japanese and Chinese poetic structures and subject matter, what are the

implications of this cross-cultural commerce in aesthetics? Through this question we can

appreciate how some of the avant-garde Chinese poets of the late 1970s situated their

literary modernism, moreover we can gain a fresh way of looking at the avant-garde

Anglo-American modernists.















CHAPTER 5
OBSERVING PERFORMANCE

The point of these brief historical narratives is to show the extent to which

Chinese culture had been entering Europe and America during the waning stretch of their

colonial forays into China, and the extent to which literary modernism was residual in

China. Hopefully this demonstration shows that Bei Dao and Ezra Pound's "enunciation"

uses an available language because it was already there.

Bei Dao said:

Our poems must absorb the techniques of Western poems, while the mood and
emotion must be national. In this case, "national" should not be mechanically
understood as referring to traditional Chinese literary forms such as Chinese folk
songs, but as trials and tribulations uniquely experienced by the Chinese nation.
(Pan and Jie 199)

In this statement, we can see Bei Dao working through the performance aspect of a

hybrid poetics. Bei Dao would agree with Xiaobing Tang's "residual modernism" where

hybridity is a tactic for poetic "enunciation." This statement also shows the anxiety and

ambivalence Bei Dao has toward the nation-state. The nation-state provides a foundation

for describing a community who have suffered similar "trials and tribulations," but with

the rigid cultural borders of the modem nation-state comes a limit on the artistic

possibilities and static "mechanical" reproduction. Hybridity, especially as expressed in

the conventions of literary modernism has been a continual tactic in dueling with "an age

of mechanical reproduction." Explaining, perhaps, why Pound in "H. S. Mauberly" says,









"the age demanded an image," and the imagist poets began to look seriously at classical

Chinese poetry.

-,,. "Life"
^I Net
(August Sleepwalker 35)

Bei Dao published this one character poem as a part of a collection of brief

imagistic blank-verse fragments, titled "Notes from the City of the Sun," pushing the

limits of lyric compression. Ezra Pound describes the "'one image poem' as a form of

super-position, that is to say, one idea on top of another"(Gaudier 89). If we follow

Pound's aesthetic theory into "iM [Life]", we can make sense of" "l[net]" as supporting

the idea of "Life". The possibilities for interpretation are endless. Regardless, of

interpretation, the poem, like the other poems from "Notes from the City of the Sun," can

be seen to follow the principles that Pound labors to explain throughout his article on

Vorticism in his Gaudier-Brzeska: a Memoir. Pound states: "The image is the word

beyond formulated language"(88). Through this image of the "net," Pound would later

argue through Fellonossa, the concept of "life" emerges un-tampered by rhetorical forms,

because it is presented in a more "natural" language where the Chinese ideogram

"represents the thing itself... [i]t retains the creative impulse and process, visible and at

work"(Fenollosa 25). Another example from the "Notes" is "Freedom" which is

comprised of the single image: "Scraps of paper, fluttering" (August Sleepwalker 32).

The pattern in these poems is consistent. "Notes from the City of the Sun" relies on

super-position to take words that have rhetorical distinction, like "Youth," "Love," and

juxtaposes them with a singular image. This returns us to Hulme's 1910 observation of

modern art that the heroic in is replaced by the subjectivity of poet's individual mind.









The poem "Life" strips down all representations of life to almost nothing but a

single character that is fraught with meaning, leaving most of the page empty. Also, the

position of the poem, contiguous to surrounding poems that employ similar devices,

creates the effect of a collage. Through this collage the irony cuts through the

representations, and the critique becomes more and more apparent. The poems, taken

collectively, serve as a pedagogical tool for reading each poem individually. In a poem

like "Freedom," we are presented with an image of "Scraps of paper/ Fluttering"(August

Sleepwalker 32). Here "freedom" is stripped of its romantic and idealistic connotations.

"Motherland" depicts the idea of an organic nation-state situated as a museum piece:

"Cast on a shield of bronze/she leans against a blackened museum wall" (32). The poems

are driven by an objective correlative, which is semantically disconnected from the title.

"Motherland" gives the clue as to the subtext behind these poems. Bei Dao with a biting

irony reduces the idealized nation-state to something orientalized, exoticized, and

propped up, perhaps in some back corner of the British Museum.

The poems work as a space clearing gesture, sweeping out the formulaic and

proscribed answers that were demanded in literature by officials. These imagistic poems

were published in 1978 two years after "the Answer." "Notes from the City of the Sun"

functions similar to what Ezra Pound describes in his "A Few Don'ts By An Imagist" as,

"the presentation of such [intellectual and emotional response to an image] a "complex"

instantaneously which gives that sense of sudden liberation"(200). Quite literally, Bei

Dao adheres to Chairman Mao's proscriptive purpose of poetry, which is to "liberate" the

masses; (the title of the poem has a play on Chairman Mao, "the rising sun," making

Beijing, the city where Bei Dao was writing, "the City of the Sun") the liberation









occurring in the poems found in "Notes from the City of the Sun," however, takes words

like "freedom" or "life" and liberates them from pre-determined, if not over-determined,

signification often found in the slogans that saturated the Mao-era cultural milieu. Later,

throughout the 1980s and especially after his exile in 1989 his poetry would become less

and less represented by the prophetic voice of "the Answer" and move on to different

aesthetic principles. Bei Dao has said that he did not like the poem "The Answer" very

much, and that it did not represent his poetry. This statement reminded me of Pound's

turn against the imagist school, dismissing it as too restrictive a form.

Pound's contributions to the first anthology of imagist poems, Des Imagistes, in

1913, demonstrate his experiments in refiguring Chinese translations with imagist

characteristics, as seen in "Fan-Piece, for her Imperial Lord":

O fan of white silk,
Clear as frost on the grass-blade,
You also are laid aside.
(Qian 46)

The poem uses juxtaposition differently than Bei Dao's "Life" or "Freedom" but the

main idea remains: the juxtaposition of concise phrasings, produces "an intellectual and

emotional complex in an instant of time" ("A Few Don'ts" 200). If we are to understand

the intellect as that which registers the image, and the emotional as a locus of affectations

produced by an image, we are left with a lyric that forms a circular bond between the

personae who sees the fan, registers its delicate coldness, and experiences an emotional

response. The persona, then, experiences the ideal response to reading an imagist poem.





1 This conversation took place during a dinner with Bei Dao, Dr. Carlos Rojas, and the poet Suzanne
Zweizig, after his poetry reading at the University of Florida in March of 2002.









The poem's title, "Fan-Piece," suggests that the poem would be printed on a fan,

heightening the poem's self-consciousness of its own subject matter; it is situating the

"fan," as the subject of the persona's consciousness, on the "fan." This also brings the

poetry out of a page in a book, and resituates it as a decorative art. The intention of Pound's

decorative art is to breach the surface of ornamentation; Pound states this intention in his

article, "Vorticism," where he claims: "The point of Imagisme is that it does not use

images as ornaments. The image is itself the speech" (qtd. in Pratt 23). Pound tries to

defy the laws of physics with the alchemy of poetry, attempting to transform the signifier into

the signified.

The representation of the Chinese subject matter is familiar, recalling at once the

trope of tragic beauty, as well as the "Oriental" image of the unappreciated concubine

cast aside by her despotic "Imperial Lord." In the poem, as the persona apprehends the

fan, which triggers a subjective identification with the object-a fan misplaced, and

unappreciated. The "emotional complex" of the piece is sorrow, dejection, and loss of

having been objectified and then discarded. Moreover, the words, "laid aside," add

another layer, suggesting, perhaps, a post-coital depression and the sexual politics of

virginity, beauty, youth, and value. These codes are already familiar to English and

American audiences.

Postcolonial theorists, like Appiah,2 would suggest that this is an appropriation

necessary for commercial reasons. The poem adheres to a pattern of chinoiserie. With its

"Chinese" branding, it clears out a market space for imagist poetry, differentiating it from

competing avant-garde poetry movements, like futurist poetry. A more complicated


2 For further discussion see Appiah's article "Is the "Post-" in Postcolonial the "Post-" in Postmodern?"









answer would involve Pound's "interlangage" of Chinese poetry, which would have been

affected by the sheer amount of chinoiserie residual in Europe. Undoubtedly, the

interlanguage would be negotiating orientalist discourses, especially since the source

material for the poem comes from the English academic Sinologist, Giles, who was

engaged in producing knowledge of the "Orient." Despite the participation of Orientalist

tropes, Pound's poem as a performance also provides a different paradigm for thinking

through a theory of aesthetics, and performing an oblique criticism of the "imperial."

As in Bei Dao's "Notes," the title of the poem works towards establishing a

superpositional relation. The title "A Fan-Piece, for her Imperial Lord" situates the reader

as the "Imperial Lord" who is in the privileged position with the agency to chose this and

lay aside that. In doing so Pound is able to complete a parallel circuit where the fan, the

poem, and the speaker of the poem charge the reader with a mean lack of sensibilities.

The fan, the poetry on the fan, and the poet-they have all been laid aside. "Fan-Piece" is

a performative use of language and art to critique the "Imperial Lord," the reader, and the

patron of the arts. These themes of lost patronage, lost identity, corruption, and

decadence continue throughout literary modernism. We see, for instance in Pound's work

emerging after World War I a different approach to form and an unrestrained attack on

British culture. This appears in his blast of the imagist literary scene in his poem "H.S.

Mauberly," where we find a damning critique of the British imperial authority:

There died a myriad,
And of the best, among them,
For an old bitch gone in the teeth,
For a botched civilization.
("H. S. Mauberly," Part V, Lines 1-4)









Another poem by Pound that appeared in Des Imagistes is "Liu Ch'e." Like "Fan-

Piece," Pound reworks Gile's translation. This poem was originally written by the Han

dynasty Emperor Liu Che as an elegy for the deceased Li Furen:

"Liu Ch'e"
The rustling of silk is discontinued,
Dust drifts over the court-yard,
There is no sound of foot-fall, and the leaves
Scurry into heaps and lie still,
And she the rejoicer of the heart is beneath them:

A wet leaf that clings to the threshold.
(Xie 56)

Beginning with the last line, we are reminded of one of Pound's, "In a Station of the

Metro" where the "petals" are clinging to a "wet, black bough." This image also appears

in another reworked Chinese translation that appears in Des Imagistes, "Ts'ai Chi'h,"

"the orange-coloured rose-leaves/ Their Ochre clings to the stone"(Qian 46). We see this

repetition of technique and imagery as a way to "encapsulate some psychological state or

experience related to the rest of the poem" (Wilson 141). Furthermore, the "clinging"

creates a play of presence and absence that we find underlying both modernism as well as

classical Chinese poetry. The "wet leaf," here, along with the dust, manifests the

"emotional complex" formed by the absence of rustling and footsteps. Time, as sensed

through sound has lost its presence ("rustling," "sound of footfall") and is overtaken by

the image of "A wet leaf that clings to the threshold." This can be seen in the graphic

outlay of the poem as a colon followed by a space separates the final line.

The symbol of the wet leaf recapitulates Orientalist discourse by positioning the

"Oriental" as feminine. The wet leaf symbolizes the loss of feminine beauty, and

fecundity, and by doing so it also foregrounds the opposite-the condition of the









courtyard, where dry dust drifts. Here we have the archetypal wasteland image ("I will

show you fear in a handful of dust"). This comment on the infertility and dryness

represents a lack that literary modernism tries to fill through cross-cultural material. The

trope of the feminine with both beauty and fecundity, also figures prominently in

environmental discourses of the twentieth century. The study of Chinese culture and

artifacts in English language discourses of environmental criticism might be fruitful. For

example, Gary Snyder, one of the leading voices of environmental criticism, too,

translated Chinese poetry and was influenced by Ezra Pound. This is another way that the

poets' Chinese interlanguage performs what de Certeau calls "enunciation."

"Liu Ch'e," "A Fan-Piece, for her Imperial Lord," and "Ts'ai Ch'ih" were all

represented in Des Imagistes-the anthology that included artists that would become key

figures in twentieth century English literature, such as James Joyce, HD, D.H. Lawrence,

Richard Aldington, and Amy Lowell, among others. If the edition was in some way a

definition of the imagist school of poetry, and Ezra Pound was the central figure in the

production of this first anthology, then the poems that Pound chose to represent himself

with can be viewed as representative for his vision of imagism. The making of the

anthology also shows how, by 1913, avant-garde modernism was already residual self-

consciously piecing together its own image. Pound's inclusion of the three Chinese

translations shows the extent that imagism was invested in "the Orient."















CHAPTER 6
NOMADIC HYBRIDITY

We have seen that both Ezra Pound and Bei Dao bring into circulation the

immanence of cultural hybridity. They not only carry foreign poetry into the domestic

cultural arena, but they, themselves, also physically crossed cultural borders. This movement

applies to the metaphor of the crossroads established at the beginning of the paper, with

the third intersection, nomadic hybridity. Ezra Pound first moved to London in 1909. At

the beginning of the Cultural Revolution Bei Dao ended his studies at one of the few elite

middle schools in Beijing. He joined the Red Guards and went to the countryside to

receive a proletariat peasant "re-education." From these movements I want to suggest that

their "nomadic" position as an outsider perhaps triggered their sensitivity to the residual

culture to which they became identified. I also want to suggest that consciously or

unconsciously both poets followed the archetypal "nomadic hybridity" of Qu Yuan. As

such, they became relatively self-contradictory in creating an aesthetic that "no longer

deals with heroic action and ... deals with momentary phases in the poet's mind," they

both tried to assume the dauntless responsibility as the saviors of culture.

Qian Zhaoming describes Pound's early exposure to Chinese poetry though Giles'

translation, showing how Pound was captivated by one of the earliest canonized poets of

China, Qu Yuan. More importantly, Pound's notion of brevity was affected by his









reading of Qu Yuan': "They hold if a man can't say what he wants to in 12 lines, he'd

better leave it unsaid. THE period was 4th cent. B.C.-Chu Yuan, Imagiste"(qtd. in Qian

25). Qian also shows how Pound would have identified Hulme's imagist principles in Qu

Yuan's poetry, because Pound had read Giles' statement that Qu Yuan's poetry was a

"choosing and working-up of analogies" (qtd. in Qian 34). Pound, like Qu Yuan, was

affected by his "biculturalism"(Qian 30) as "a mediator of refined northern civilization

and the barbarians of the South" (Schnaider 210). In addition to Qu Yuan, Li Bai (Li Po)

the Tang dynasty poet is another famous example of cultural hybridity within the nation-

state, as he was born in what is now Kazakhstan, and spent much of his life traveling to

different parts of China. Even today Li Bai's poetry is perhaps the most celebrated in all

of China.

Bei Dao and Ezra Pound were familiar with both of these poets, and their lives.

With this being said, the poet as a figure is a text that runs underneath the question of

cross-cultural appropriations. The poets' movements, like nomadic existence, and the

working across boundaries form a readable rhetoric. This rhetoric is also a deep part of

the poets' interlanguage of the cross-cultural poetics, determining to a certain extent what

the poet translates to the surface of the page. So when Bei Dao, who was sent down to the

countryside from one of the best middle schools in Beijing during the Cultural

Revolution, claims that he is experimenting with a hybrid aesthetic, he is doing something

that is intensely national that dates back to China's earliest canonical poets (Pan 200). It

also shows how Ezra Pound could call China the "new Greece," as Pound splices himself



1 Pound, in "A Few Don'ts By An Imagiste," said: "It is better to present one Image in a lifetime than to
produce voluminous \ oi ks I 2111).









to a tradition of poets who were revered by the nation, yet, they, themselves, were

working through the problem of nomadic hybridity.

Qu Yuan was a poet-official of the Warring States period (403-221 BC) from the

state of Chu, who is one of the earliest poets to be recognized in the Chinese classical

canon. The story goes that he was in good graces with the emperor of Chu, but jealousy

overtook the emperor's court; Qu Yuan was slandered, and then exiled. He again tried to

win an audience with the emperor to warn him of impending danger from a rival

kingdom, and again he was denied; the kingdom's capital city was sacked; he then threw

himself into the Milo River after writing a poem that serves as a suicide note (Schnaider

19-21). The Han dynasty historian Sima Qian, in his biography of Qu Yuan, explains that

the poet: "chose to die rather than seek a place in the world... Like a cicada slipping from

his shell, he shook off the filth that surrounded him and soared far beyond its

defilement"(qtd. in Schnaider 21). When we look at the performance aspect ofBei Dao

and Ezra Pound's poetry, they can be seen as responses to massive geo-political

transformations, of which residual culture is a symptom. Their poems voice a protest

against a corrupt regime of power, even if the regime of power is simply popular taste.

They also construct tragic and self-sacrificing personae (for example, Bei Dao's "The

Answer," and Pound's "H. S. Mauberly") for which poetry is the act of cultural

purification as well as an emphatic notice to the public advertising the sacrifice.

In "The Answer" the trope of Qu Yuan crops up after the poet declares he "does

not believe":

S^Vu S, 4 If the sea is destined to breach the dikes/
Let all the brackish water pour into my heart
(lines 21-22)









Taking this passage literally, the persona of the poem threatens death by water.

Figuratively, the conjunction between the prophetic voice and the purification sacrifice

combine to save the culture that has endured pollution, suggesting a liturgical if not

magical quality of poetry that at once critiques and restores culture.

"The Answer" recollects the artist as an alienated figure who threatens death by

water. This creates a complex of narcissism and heroic selflessness found not only in

"The Answer," but also in many modernist texts including "Mauberly" (who also kills

himself, perhaps by drowning as seen in the lines: "The chopped seas held him in," and,

"here drifted an hedonist"). Pound says this about Mauberly: "The worst muddle they are

making is in failing to see that Mauberly buries E. P. in the first poem" (qtd. in Wilson

158). Wilson points out, "[i]fthe voice that buries E. P. in the first poem is Mauberly,

then the narrator of the other poems in the sequence would revert to him too, resulting in

the dead Mauberly narrating his own life and reading his own suicide note (158). Here

the confusion between poet and persona is magnified, especially in figures like Pound

and Bei Dao-Pound would leave England soon after "Mauberly" for Italy due to a host

of political, economic, and cultural reasons. Bei Dao would leave China due to his role as

an activist in the democracy movement that came to a head in 1989. Thus, the trope of

"nomadic hybridity" is written across their very lives.

Schnaider shows how some twentieth century Chinese intellectuals and artists saw

their work, which seems to also adequately describe many modernist writers and their

ambivalence toward national forms and the reception of their work:

This barbarianlike alienness of Ch'u Yuan's [Qu Yuan] individuality made him
attractive to poet-officials who themselves were driven to extremities. In the
twentieth century, it was all the more attractive to the self-proclaimed deracine,
those intellectuals who saw themselves as 'superfluous,' and 'made useless by the









times'-those "imitation foreign devils" who had traveled in and learned from the
barbarian West. (208)

We cannot say for sure whether or not Bei Dao and Ezra Pound felt this way about their

work, but critics such as Ai Qing, a poet who had established his fame before 1949, and

survived the various waves of criticism and rehabilitation to achieve a weighty status at

the end of the Cultural Revolution, criticized Bei Dao by saying: "Poems cannot be

evaluated as good or bad unless they are understandable in the first place... The

incomprehensibility of some poems results from their mechanical imitation of Western

poetry"(qtd. in Pan 199). This criticism was typical of the critical reception that the

menglong poets received as their poetry was circulated around Beijing between 1978 and

1980. The criticism brings up the question of "mechanical" reproduction in a way that is

in dialogue with Bei Dao's claim that not experimenting with a different aesthetic would

lead to "mechanically understanding." Ai Qing's criticizes the poem "Life" from "Notes

from the City of the Sun" as something "Western" (199). Taking for granted that Bei Dao

wrote imitations[] of Western poetry," the criticism brings up the question of the

legitimacy of poetic appropriation. To this effect the critic has become what Bruno

Latour calls a "policeman," determining the legitimacy of appropriation and

misappropriation; Latour adds, "appropriation is a typically modernist term that means,

of course, that there is a rightful owner" (Latour 266), and this question of ownership of

metaphor are the challenges that both Bei Dao and Ezra Pound bring about through their

poetry. In Bei Dao's poetry the voices and aesthetics that have been affected by the

experimentation of the literary modernism that took place in Europe, America, and China

during the first half of the twentieth century, and in Ezra Pound's poetry has been

affected by aesthetics of classical Chinese art.









The comparison of these two poets shows how their poetry is a response to

modernity that is already in itself residual. The Ezra Pound's use of classical Chinese

poetry, and Bei Dao's use of literary modernism are tactics for enunciation, which have

generated new ways of expressing the poet's relation to the nation and national form.

Both poets ended up defined by national politics. Bei Dao along with a few other

menglong poets went into exile after the Tiananmen Square incident; Ezra Pound was

admitted into an insane asylum after being acquitted for treason. Later, he died an ex-

patriot in Pisan, Italy. Both poets to an extent have recapitulated the nomadic hybridity of

Qu Yuan and as such have challenged the boundaries of a national aesthetic. In the

process they have altered the cultural landscape within the boundaries of the nation from

which they have departed.















CHAPTER 7
CONCLUSION

Bringing this discussion full circle, the comparison of these two international

literary figures hopefully allows us to do two things at once. First, the comparison helps

to locate a nexus of theoretical approaches in dealing with the complicated issue of trans-

cultural poetry. Combining interlanguage, residual modernism, and nomadic hybridity

that I see intersecting in the poetry ofBei Dao and Ezra Pound represents one approach to

understanding this complex. The comparison also helps to rethink the field of literary

studies that tends to treat poetry within a monolingual, if not monolithic, literary

tradition. That is to say that English or American poetry is not a phenomenon that occurs

within the isolated confines of national borders. The comparison of these two poets also

opens up a broad horizon for further inquiry. For example, the material production and

circulation of the poetry is another important consideration, because both Bei Dao and

Ezra Pound were instrumental in consolidating their respective schools of poetry

imagismm and menglong poetry). This also involves a study of the other poets in these

schools, like the menglong poet Gu Cheng and the imagist HD. In terms of literary

history, looking at the nuances of the "Orientalist" and "Occidentalist" discourses is also

very important in understanding our present geopolitical situation where the foreign

"other" is continually figured as a threat to a national existence.
















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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH


James Innis McDougall was born in Victoria, British Columbia in the year of our

Lord 1974. Since that time he has spent many hours learning from Prince Edward Island

brook trout, and staring at the corners of many different ceilings, trying to understand

principles of the line. Countless highway miles in between have effortlessly reconstituted

space around him. Several countries have allowed him to drift around the streets of their

cities like a sleeping cloud across brilliant skies. Gan Liulu, Family, friends, strangers,

hoary faced Russian writers, Rhinish Medieval mystics, alcoholics and dropouts, soldiers

and sailors, modernists that oppose modernity, poets and great doubters, warriors

despising war, vegetation springing from deep August heat, the ice pack of a Buffalo gray

winter, and all our glorious dead have produced a love that sustains him, and a stability

stronger than fate. He has learned essential movements of the cosmos from the color of

the sea. Ian, Robert, William, Duncan, Ali and Brian, and his father and mother made

him what he is. Gan Liulu made him what he is to become. He studied Europe from the

back of an R-5. He studied America from the Great Lakes to the Bronx. He studied

English Literature from SUNY Buffalo. He has earned meager sums of money at dairy

farms, pizzerias, drive-in movie theatres, scarified clear-cuts in the jack pine/black spruce

ocean of northern Ontario, English teaching institutes in Pusan Korea, the basement of a

Rochester radio factory, a few months in the libraries (and chemistry labs) of Chapel Hill.

He has been to the highest places of his life in China and has come down into the swamps

of Florida. There he goes by the grace of God.