1,200 years later, is Chinese poetry entering a new golden age?
A few weeks ago in Beijing, a dozen well-known poets got together. Among them was an IT guy who wanted their help testing out a new app for a social network — not based on sharing friends, photos or business contacts, but about sharing poetry. He convinced them to each recite some of their work.
Yibing Huang recorded his poem, “Shoulder to Shoulder We…” into an app called “Poem For You.” According to Yibing, the poets were skeptical. They weren’t “app” kind of guys. Was this really a good venue for poetry, they wondered? But, within minutes of the poets uploading their poems, he says, “there were hundreds of people ‘liking’ them and writing comments.”
Hundreds of ‘likes’ within minutes. In the US, where poetry can feel like the exclusive domain of MFA grads and disaffected teens, I would never say to someone, “If you really want to understand America, read some modern poetry.” But in today’s China, where it seems like everyone is writing poetry, that might be just the thing to do.
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