Nameless Flowers: Selected Poems of Gu Cheng
by Gu Cheng
Translated from the Chinese by Aaron Crippen
With photos by Hai Bo
April 18, 2005
Paperback, 166 pages
8.3 x 5.5 x 0.4 inches
$14.95 (Can $16.95)
Regarded as China’s finest contemporary poet, Gu Cheng (1956-1993) has captivated and enthralled readers world wide, spanning many generations. While critics called him the harbinger of a troubled and new Obscure movement, a generation who had come of age during the Cultural Revolution were taking his poems to heart. Nameless Flowers: Selected Poems of Gu Cheng traces the poetry of Gu Cheng from the lurid early lyrics that made him a literary star to the late expressions of dark beauty that predicted his second exile and tragic death. Though rooted in classical Chinese, particularly the Taoism of Chuang Tzu, Gu Cheng’s poems show traces of western influences as diverse as Whitman, Lorca, and entomologist Jean Henri Fabre. His poems embrace animate and inanimate beings from the vast Chinese masses and Mongolian plains down to insects and pebbles. It is this simultaneous vision of the little man, the “nameless flower,” and the faceless mass that has made Gu Cheng one of China’s most fervently loved poets.
Nameless Flowers includes memoirs by Gu Cheng and his father, writer Gu Gong, vividly recounting the poet’s path out of rural exile to the Democracy Wall in Beijing to the podiums of Berlin, London, and New York. Fans of writers such as Li Po, Basho, Andersen, Plath, and Bei Dao, who was his friend, will readily recognize the powers of this eclectic and mystic poet.
Translator Aaron Crippen lectured for six years at Shanghai International Studies University and Jilin University. He holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Poetry and is completing his Ph.D. studies in English Literature. In 2001 he was awarded by the American Translators Association for his translations of Gu Cheng. He is also recipient of the PEN Texas Literary Award for Poetry.
Hai Bo (b. 1962) is a freelance artist living in Beijing. He has exhibited at the 2001 Venice Biennale, Arles Recontres de la Photographie 2003 and Max Protech Gallery in New York, 2004.