Mei Shaojing

Mei Shaojing
b. 1948, Sichuan
Uniquely combining the purity of folksongs and the complexity of the postmodern sensibility, Mei Shaojing is one of the New Era (Xinshiqi) poets who began writing during the Cultural Revolution and emerged as a new tide swept poetic conventions in the 1980s. Growing up in Beijing, Mei was sent to Yan’an in 1969 and worked as a farmer, factory worker and literary magazine editor until she entered the Lu Xun Literary Institute in 1984.
Since 1971 she has published four collections of poetry and a large amount of prose, and has won multiple literary prizes. Many of her poems have been translated into other languages.
One of the best ‘rural poets’ (xiangtu shiren) of the PRC, Mei is renowned for her portrayal of rural life and creative use of the folk tradition. Her prize-winning collection, She’s That Mei (Ta jiushi nage Mei, 1986), is regarded as a poetic representation of the life and soul of the yellow earth. Although many of her poems are inspired by her experience in the countryside, Mei’s poetry is not limited to pastoral themes. Simultaneously simple and poignant, her poems capture the essence of human conditions in most ordinary images and with unadorned language, as seen in the following lines:
Life is a water jar
filled with clear and sweet thoughts—
it’s pouring out tears and sweats
to make my throat choke.
(‘What is Life’/Rizi shi shenmo, 1984)

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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