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Classical-style poetry in modern China and other Sinitic-speaking localities is attracting greater attention with the recent upsurge in academic revision of modern Chinese literary history. Using the concept of cultural transplantation, this monograph attempts to illustrate the uniqueness, compatibility, and adaptability of classical Chinese poetry in colonial Singapore as well as its sustained connections with literary tradition and homeland. It demonstrates how the reading of classical Chinese poetry can better our understanding of Singapore’s political, social, and cultural history, deepen knowledge of the transregional relationship between China and Nanyang, and fine-tune, redress, and enrich our perception of Singapore Chinese literature, Sinophone literature, the Chinese diaspora, and global Chinese identity.
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A revival of ci writing was witnessed in the Qing dynasty. Emerging with this resurgence was the founding of scores of ci societies. After the fall of the Qing, some loyalists and traditional literati, following the examples of their predecessors, joined together to form a number of ci societies in Republican China. For loyalist-lyricists such as Zhu Zumou, ci writing was not just one of the effective ways to convey their memories of the past. It also meant to be a gesture of practicing and preserving traditional Chinese culture. However, due to ideological bias, their works and the vitality of cishe did not receive sufficient attention from literary historians in the past. This paper attempts to reveal and examine the interesting features of cishe in the Republican era, asserting that within the collective voice of and harmonious correspondence among the traditional lyricists, there were always some dissonances occurred. First I delineate a general picture of ci societies in Republican China, explicating the geographical distribution and social networks of ci lyricists and why lyricists from the Qing loyalist faction can associate with members of the anti-Manchu Southern Society (Nanshe), and what this phenomenon means to us. Then I focus on the Foam Society (Oushe), the ci society formed in Shanghai before the Japanese occupation of the city, and its group ci composition. Besides recounting Oushe members’ backgrounds and the details of their “refined gatherings,” I will bring into light the multifaceted thematic and stylistic features displayed in the members’ works.

In: Frontiers of Literary Studies in China
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Classical-style poetry is a neglected genre in the study of Chinese American literature. Except for the Angel Island Poetry and the Songs of Gold Mountain (Jinshan geji 金山歌集), no substantial research has been done on the enormous amount of classical-style poems published in San Francisco and New York. This article attempts to explore this uncharted territory by examining the poetry of Tung Pok Chin 陳松柏 (1916–88, aka Lai Bing Chan 黎屏塵) and his story as a Chinese immigrant. Chin moved to the United States in 1934 as a paper son. He joined the American navy during World War II and eventually established his own laundry business in Brooklyn. Since the late 1940s, Chin published a significant amount of his classical-style poetry in the China Daily News (Meizhou huaqiao ribao 美洲華僑日報), a left-wing newspaper operated by the pro-communist Chinese Hand Laundry Alliance. With the help of his daughter, he also wrote a memoir in English narrating his assimilation into American society. His poetry, though not particularly refined, similarly records his experiences and comments regarding American life and politics. Based on the source materials found in the Tung Pok Chin Papers archived in New York University, his memoir, and the poems he published in the China Daily News, herein I illuminate how Chin adopted a traditional form of poetry as his expressive vehicle and, with the narrative power of his English memoir, how he used his poems to construct a social identity. The article also relates Chin’s work to the broader context of Asian American studies, as well as the classical poetry community and its development in New York, and ponders his significances in the history of Chinese American literature.

In: Frontiers of Literary Studies in China