Feminism as women’s rights movement and literary theory was well accepted in China as it’s synchronized with the Communist’s slogan “Women can hold half sky”. Feminist poetry has been very popular in China from the mid 1980s which was a mix of feminist voice and “confessional” writing and several poets have been introduced to the western countries. While we acknowledge its legitimacy as a way of poetry writing and as a theory for literary criticism, we find that the over-estimate of its literary value has dominated the poetry scene for too long and has overshadowed many other women poets in China who are not accepted by the elite feminist cycle in China. The other problem with the feminist poetry in China is that it’s mostly combined with a sort of academia style of writing especially among the young feminist poets whose work is dry and full of dull ideas but no music and the language is so outdated without any innovated features. In Feb 2014, Poetry East West lunched an online special issue of “Sheltered Garden: Women Poets in China”. Without any announcement, it attracted many women poets from all over China. Some showed their support immediately by posting their work on the forum of Poetry East West while others showed support quietly and secretly (afraid of losing opportunities to be published by the feminist journal). Except for a few, many of these poets are unknown but whose work is original as compared to the feminist poetry which is mostly influenced by Western poetry through translation. The following is the updated version with Poems in Part I, Reviews Part 2, and Criticism and Discussion in Part 3. It’s an ongoing online issue, updated 4 times so far. The initial focus was about why some women poets were neglected by critics, and then moved to the women’s creativity and their experimental features in the form and language. Towards the end of June, the discussion shifted to a debate of female writing vs male writing vs non-gender or 3rd sex writing. We will select the most interesting poems from this online issue and publish them in the next paper issue of Poetry East West journal.
Liu Xia 摄影作品·傻娃娃系列