Ai Qing - One of the Finest Modern Chinese Poets
Ai Qing (Chinese: 艾青; born Jiang Zhenghan (蒋正涵) and styled Jiang Haicheng (蒋海澄); March 27, 1910 – May 5, 1996), is regarded as one of the finest modern Chinese poets. He was known under his pen names Linbi(林壁), Ke'a (克阿) and Ejia(莪加).
Poet Ai Qing
He was born in Fantianjiang village (贩田蒋), Jinhua county, in eastern China's Zhejiang province. After entering Hangzhou Xihu Art school in 1928, under the advice of principal Lin Feng Mian (林风眠), he went abroad and studied in Paris the following spring. From 1929 to 1932 while studying in France, besides learning art of Renoir and Van Gogh, the philosophy of Kant and Hegel, he also studied modern poets such as Mayakovsky and was especially influenced by Belgian poet Verhaeren.
After the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937, Ai Qing wrote "Snowfall on the Chinese earth" (《雪落在中国的土地上》) after arriving at Wuhan to support the war effort. In 1938, he moved to Guilin to become the editor of "Guixi Daily" newspaper. In 1940, he became the dean of the Chinese department at Chongqing YuCai University.
In 1941, he moved to Yan'an, and joined the Chinese Communist Party in the subsequent year. Beginning in 1949, he was on cultural committees. He was editor of Poetry Magazine, and associate editor of People's Literature.
However in 1957, during the Anti-Rightist Movement, he defended Ding Ling, was accused of "rightism", and in 1958 exiled to farms in northeast China, and then in 1959 transferred to Xinjiang by the Communist authorities. He was not allowed to publish his works Return Song(《归来的歌》) and Ode to Light(《光的赞歌》) until he was reinstated in 1979. In 1979, he was vice-chairman of the Chinese Writers Association.
He made a second journey to France in 1980, and in 1985 French president François Mitterrand awarded him the title of Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters.
Ai Qing published his first poem Dayanhe in 1933, which brought him instant renown. This poem formedthe basic artistry of his poetry and established his important standing inmodern Chinese literature. His collection published in the 1930s and 1940s include: Dayanhe,The North, He Dies a Second Time, Facing the Sun, Poems Dedicatedto a Village , Anti-Fascism, Wilderness, News of the Dawn, and Drillingin the Snow. The poems in these collections chant the fate of the Chinesenation, and are written in melancholic yet heroic tones.
Ai Qing's poems, written in the 1950s that told of a new life and thebuilding of socialism, were more predictable but still maintained his well-known style. His other poems, which drew inspiration from his experiences overseas, such as Vienna, Travel in South America, and The Atlantic adopted techniques of realism and symbolism and were regarded as outstanding poems of the time.
At the end of the 1970s, he created some long poems including Ode to Light and Amphi theatre which built on the Subject of his works in the1930s and 1940s, i.e. seeking truth. His poems written during this period were more profound and visionary and began to take the shape of symbolic poetry.