Reviving the power of poetry

Updated: 2014-01-30 10:36

By Wu Yiyao in Shanghai (China Daily)

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"Those were times when people were zealous about poems and poets, which I reckon may not necessarily be healthy. But these days, there is a noticeable gap between how people feel and their ability to express their feelings."

Emotions are often suppressed in today's world for many reasons, Fan says. It could be due to a lack of time, a neglect of personal feelings, and sometimes, a systemic failure to encourage expression.

His poetry-sharing group has gradually shifted focus from just individual expression to a broader mission - to close the gap between emotions to be expressed and paying attention to and understanding these emotions. "Poetry appreciation is unlikely to be adopted in our education system, and it is not necessary for it to be. Since we have the Internet, we can promote it outside the schooling system, through mobile devices," Fan says.

An increasing number of volunteers who join the editing team add diversity to the poems introduced to subscribers, who may find themselves listening to a wide range of poetry ranging from Batso Basho's haiku to Chinese rock 'n' roll lyrics, Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907) love songs to the works of the English Lake poets.

Some poems, often recommended by "a friend of a friend", may also make their debut on the poetry cluster.

One contributor of original poems is Yu Xinqiao, whose work If I Die, I Must Die in Your Hands was recently adapted into lyrics for a song which became popular after being promoted on a television program on songwriters.

Like Yu, many contributors are keen poets who are not shy about expressing their strongest feeling or most delicate emotional nuances.

Some poets may be more reticent about seeking fame, but for the editors of the poetry group, they feel it their duty to share interesting works with their subscribers.

In the age of we-media, there are now more channels to share their works with others, even total strangers. Read a Poem can expand the reach of these interesting poems to a wider audience, Fan says.

"Mainstream, scholarly monographs or periodicals may not spare space for these new poets, but they deserve to be more widely known. They are the current voices of this age," Fan says.

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