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THE ALL-SEEING EYE: Collected Poems by Shang Qin

THE ALL-SEEING EYE: Collected Poems by Shang Qin
Original work 商禽・世紀詩選
Author Shang Qin
Translator John Balcom
Publisher National Museum of Taiwan Literature
Publication year 2018
   Page 108
Language English
  • Abstract
  • Content

Shang Qin’s THE ALL-SEEING EYE brings together the poems previously published in previous collections Dream or Dawn, Thinking with Our Feet and elsewhere. Dream or Dawn was hailed as a landmark of Taiwanese surrealism and considered a classic of the 1960s along with Ya Hsien’s collection Abysse. As one of the giants of the 1960s modernist movement in Taiwan, Shang Qin was given the nickname “the uncanny genius”. He excelled in finding the surreal among the real, of carving out the bizarre in the seemingly quotidian. Shang Qin experienced war first-hand at a young age, and went on to suffer further tragedy as an adult, as a result of which themes of imprisonment and decay are ever-present in his work. He explored the tension between incarceration and release in a highly symbolic way, highlighting the profoundly human aspects of the politics of his age, the individual hardship, loneliness and alienation that comes with fleeing war. Known for quality over prolificacy, he said himself, “I use prose poetry to create; I do not create prose poetry. The focus is the poem; it has nothing to do with prose.”

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