Zheng Min (1920-2022)

Poet, translator, and cultural critic Zheng Min 郑敏 (b. July 18, 1920) has just died, on January 3, 2022, at the age of 101. Along with Mu Dan 穆旦 (1918–1977), Chen Jingrong 陳敬容 (1917–1989), and others, in the 1940s she was one of the “Nine Leaves” 九葉 poets, whose 1981 anthology was not only instructive to poets in the post-Cultural Revolution era but also constituted an important link with the poetry and poetics of the Republican era.

I was surprised to see that the MCLC bibliography, which is usually so thorough, lists so few articles about her and translations of her work into English. Hopefully the following can be added to the database [they have been added–Kirk Denton]? Most of the titles below are in Géraldine Fiss’s entry on Zheng in the Dictionary of Literary Biography out this year (op. cit.), but I have added some recent translations as well as a few takes (by van Dongen, Saussy, Yeh, and Zhao) on her controversial essay ‘A look back at the end of century: Chinese language reform and new poetry in China’ 世纪末的回顾: 汉语语言变革与中国新诗创作 (Wenxue pinglun 3 (1993): 5–20). If I’ve missed anything, I hope someone will let me know!

Lucas Klein Lucas.Klein@asu.edu

Author Studies:

Batt, Herbert. “Zheng Min.” In Herbert Batt and Sheldon Zitner, eds., The Flowering of Modern Chinese Poetry: An Anthology of Verse from the Republican Period, 398–401. Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2016.

Bruno, Debra. “A Poet From China’s Avant-Garde Looks Back” [brief interview with Zheng Min]. Wall Street Journal, 9 August 2012, sec. Scene Asia. https://www.wsj.com/articles/BL-SJB-9865.

Chung, Ling 鍾玲. “Her Dexterous Sensibility: On Zheng Min’s Poetry.” Modern Chinese Literature 3, no. 1/2 (1987): 47–55.

Fiss, Géraldine. “Zheng Min (1920-).” In Dictionary of Literary Biography: Chinese Poets Since 1949, edited by Thomas Moran and Christopher Lupke, 323–29. Dictionary of Literary Biography Series 387. Detroit: Thomson Gale, 2020.

Haft, Lloyd. “Zheng Min.” In A Selective Guide to Chinese Literature 1900–1949, Volume III: The Poem, 267–272. Leiden: Brill, 1989.

Haft, Lloyd. “Rhymes and Other Echoes: Some Sonnets by the Nine Leaves Group” and “Chinese Sonnets for the 1990s: Zheng Min’s The Poet and Death.” In The Chinese Sonnet: Meanings of a Form, 137–148 and 149–182. CNWS Publications, no. 69. Leiden, the Netherlands: Research School CNWS, Leiden University, 2000.

Julia C. Lin. Modern Chinese Poetry: An Introduction. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1972.

Knapp, Bettina. “The New Era for Women Writers in China.” World Literature Today, 65, no. 3 (1991): 432–439.

Li Ziyun. “Women’s Writing and Women’s Consciousness,” translated by Zhu Hong. In Engendering China: Women, Culture, and the State, edited by Christina Gilmartin et al., 299–317. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1994.

Lin, Julia C. and Nicholas Kaldis. “Introduction.” In Twentieth-Century Chinese Women’s Poetry: An Anthology, edited by Lin. Armonk, New York: M. E. Sharpe, 2009.

Lingenfelter, Andrea. “A Marked Category: Nine Women of Modern Chinese Poetry, 1920–1997.” Dissertation, University of Washington, 1998.

Man, Sujie. “Golden Sheaves Stand Upon the Harvested Fields” [interview with Zheng Min]. China Daily (North American Edition) (February 1993): 9-1.

McDougall, Bonnie, and Kam Louie. “Zheng Min.” In The Literature of China in the Twentieth Century, edited by McDougall and Louie, 279–280. New York: Columbia University Press, 1997.

Saussy, Haun. “Postmodernism in China: A Sketch and Some Queries.” In Great Walls of Discourse and Other Adventures in Cultural China, 118–45. Harvard East Asian Monographs 212. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center, 2001. [Also in Yeh, ed., Cross-Cultural Readings of Chineseness, 128–158]

van Dongen, Els. “Of Post-Isms and May Fourth.” In Realistic Revolution: Contesting Chinese History, Culture, and Politics after 1989, 164–95. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019.

Wong, Lisa Lai-ming. “Liberation of Femininity? Women’s Poetry in Post-Mao China.” In Gender, Discourse and the Self in Literature: Issues in Mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, edited by Kwok-kan Tam and Terry Siu-han Yip, 91–108. Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press, 2009.

Yeh, Michelle 奚密. “Chinese Postmodernism and the Cultural Politics of Modern Chinese Poetry.” In Cross-Cultural Readings of Chineseness: Narratives, Images, and Interpretations of the 1990s, edited by Wen-Hsin Yeh, 100–127. China Research Monographs 51. Berkeley: Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California, 2000.

Zhang, Jeanne Hong. The Invention of Discourse: Women’s Poetry from Contemporary China. Leiden: CNWS Publications, 2004.

Zhao, Henry Y.H. 赵毅衡. “Post-Isms and Chinese New Conservatism.” New Literary History 28, no. 1 (1997): 31–44. https://doi.org/10.1353/nlh.1997.0003.

Translations in English:

Balcom, John, trans., “Four Poems by Zheng Min,” Renditions (Spring 1993): 120–127.

Batt, Herbert and Sheldon Zitner, trans., in The Flowering of Modern Chinese Poetry: An Anthology of Verse from the Republican Period, translated by Herbert Batt and Sheldon Zitner, 401–412. Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2016.

Chung Ling, trans., “Journey in a Labyrinth,” Chinese Literature (Winter 1994): 133–136.

Ho, Tammy Lai-Ming, trans., Chinese Literature Today 9, no. 2 (2 July 2020): 62–65, with introduction by Liu Yan. https://doi.org/10.1080/21514399.2020.1852023.

Hsu, Kai-yu, trans., in Twentieth-Century Chinese Poetry: An Anthology, 229–242. New York: Cornell University Press, 1963.

Lin, Julia C., trans., in Twentieth-Century Chinese Women’s Poetry: An Anthology, 14–23. Armonk, New York: M. E. Sharpe, 2009.

Lin, Julia C., trans., in Women of the Red Plain: An Anthology of Contemporary Chinese Women’s Poetry. 150–158. London: Penguin Books, 1992.

Ming Di, trans., “Golden Rice Sheaves,” World Literature Today 95.4 (Autumn 2021), https://www.worldliteraturetoday.org/2021/autumn/golden-rice-sheaves-zheng-min

Morin, Edward, Fang Tai, and Dennis Ting, trans., in The Red Azalea: Chinese Poetry since the Cultural Revolution, edited by Edward Morin, 27–30. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 1990.

Rexroth, Kenneth, and Ling Chung, trans., in The Orchid Boat: Women Poets of China, 89–91. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1972 / New Directions, 1982.

Yeh, Michelle, trans., in Anthology of Modern Chinese Poetry, 82–84. , translated and edited by Michelle Yeh. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992.

Yip, Wai-lim, trans., in Lyrics from Shelters: Modern Chinese Poetry, 1930–1950, 155–164. translated by Wai-lim Yip. New York: Garland, 1991.

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