Huang Xiang

Huang Xiang
(né Wu Gang)
b. 1941, Hunan
Huang Xiang appeared as a lone wolf on the contemporary Chinese poetic scene. Born to a KMT general and having grown up in Guizhou, Huang Xiang had lived almost his entire life in post-1949 China as a social outcast and was several times imprisoned because of his various political and literary activities.
Huang Xiang wrote some of his major political poems in the late 1960s. His poem ‘The Beast’ (Yeshou, 1968) describes a beast that was hunted by the era as well as the beast’s stubborn will, sticking his remaining bone into the throat of his era. Echoing some of the Russian Osip Mandelstam’s late poems written during the Stalin era, ‘The Beast’ testifies to the terrible reality of the Cultural Revolution as well as to an equally strong individualistic defiance of history. His long poem Symphony of the God of Fire (Huoshen jiaoxiangshi), written in 1969, was posted in Beijing during the ‘Beijing Spring’ of 1978. Huang Xiang’s late poetry became more philosophical, mainly propagating a neo-Nietzchean life-philosophy, as in his long poetic-philosophical manifesto The Beasty Figure Who Will Never Get Drunk (Kuangyin buzui de shouxing). In the mid-1990s Huang Xiang moved to the USA. Huang Xiang, who never officially published any collection of poetry in China and was nearly forgotten by the public for a time, is now considered to be a major forerunner of the underground poetry and Misty poetry movements of the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Emerson, Andrew G. (2001). The Guizhou Undercurrent’. Modern Chinese Literature and Culture 13.2 (Fall): 111–33.
Garside, Roger (1981). Coming Alive: China After Mao. New York: McGraw Hill, 285–98. [includes four poems]
Huang, Xiang (2000). Nine Poems. Trans. Andrew G.Emerson. Ohio State University MCLC Resource Center Publication. Online. Available at

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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