Moving words in print

By Fang Aiqing | China Daily Global | Updated: 2023-03-02 08:17
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Front cover of the book, I No Longer Work Hard to Become Someone Else: Writing Poetry on Bilibili. CHINA DAILY

Popular online video-sharing platform becomes a hotbed of poetic expression for young Chinese, resulting in the publication of a new book, Fang Aiqing reports.

The hustle and bustle of life's routines, wandering back and forth from the ideal to reality, and the inner turbulence hidden behind a social mask. Some from the young generations have recorded their daily fragmentations in lines of poetry, not necessarily neat and metrical with verse, many with a hint of the burlesque, on a video-sharing platform over the last few years.

Some of these works, either displayed in user-generated videos, comment sections, or personal channels on the website, have been selected to form a collection published recently, I No Longer Work Hard to Become Someone Else: Writing Poetry on Bilibili.

One of the 132 pieces reads: "There are so many things we can't help. Sometimes I feel like I'm no different from a roll of toilet paper. Every time I finish work late and gobble a night snack, a torrent of heat splits my body in two, half-innocent and the other sentimental."

Anthropologist Xiang Biao, director of the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Germany, comments that this piece of work conveys the writer's earnestness toward the present moment.

He says the writer sees clearly the weariness of everyday life, the cure of a certain trifling matter, and has questions of self-doubt — Who am I? What am I doing? — that we may not get the answer to, but linger on and keep humming at the bottom of the heart.

In his preface, Xiang recalls generations of Chinese writers, who, since the 1980s, have created poems in their youth.

He says the strong philosophical meaning of menglong (misty) poems came from their sense of history, the feelings that young people generated at a historical turning point.

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