Notes on the Mosquito (Paperback)
New Directions Publishing Corporation, 9780811219877, 255pp.
Publication Date: April 12, 2012
In the crevices of history, mosquitoes are everywhere, Xi Chuan writes. Notes on the Mosquito introduces English readers to one of the most revered poets of contemporary China. Gaining recognition as a post-Misty poet in the late 80s, Xi Chuan was famous for his condensed, numinous lyricism, and for radiating classical Chinese influences as much as Western modernist traditions. After the crushing failure of Tiananmen Square and the death of two of his closest friends, he stopped writing for three years. He re-emerged transformed: he began writing meditative, expansive prose poems that dismantled the aestheticism and musicality of his previous self. Divided into two sections that hinge around this formal break, Notes on the Mosquito offers the greatest hits of a deeply engaging poet, whose work intertwines the mountains and roads of Xinjiang with insects and mythical beasts, ghosts and sacred spirits with chess and a Sanskrit inscription.