1. When did you first encounter poetry?
I encountered poetry when I was really little. My family put a lot of emphasis on traditional Chinese culture, in which ancient Chinese poetry and other literary forms play a crucial part. Those simple poems like《静夜思》(Quiet Night Thought) and《咏鹅》(Ode to Goose) gave me a nice taste of the forms and imageries used in typical ancient Chinese poems and was a good starting point for my interests and passion in poetry.
2. Who or what inspired you to start writing your own poems?
I started writing my own poems when I was exposed to contemporary poetry. It resonated with me much more than ancient poetry ever did since it’s closer to our modern language, and the relatively freer format allowed for greater room of creativity and lyricism. The one poem that inspired me to try writing my own was《借我》(Lend Me) by Fan Xiaochun, in which the poet puts various provocative imageries in a simple yet elegant way. The consistent repetition lends the poem extraordinary emotional intensity, striking me with its woefulness. It demonstrated to me how powerful yet viable contemporary poetry could be and thus inspired me to start creating my own.
3. What is the process of you coming up with a poem?
Generally, I come up with an idea first, either from existing works or wild imagination, and then develop it with relevant interesting elements like paradoxes, ironies, themes and so on. After the idea is ‘poetic’, unique and sophisticated enough, I go on to construct a scene to look for the fittest imageries or other channels of expression. And lastly, I work on form, sounds and rhythms. However, such a process is very ideal; in practice, there is a lot of back-and-forth. Sometimes some mesmeric scenes or imageries strike me unexpectedly, and sometimes my ideas may be driven by even melody and sounds, so working with multiple aspects is also a norm for me.
4. What excites you when you write a poem?
To me, writing a poem is most exciting because it lends me the power to create and express my own voice. When I write a poem, the carefully designed lines slowly trickle into my consciousness, and through this process I have the genuine feeling of putting together a delicate, nuanced and artful work. Moreover, due to the oral tradition of poetry, I always feel as if some grand voice is narrating or reciting my poem, or my voice is broadcast to the whole world and the world is passionate to hear it. With sheer emotional intensity, this brings about a powerful sense of catharsis.
5. Do you see yourself writing stories/poems in the future?
Yes, I am sure that writing stories and poems will be an irreplaceable part of my life in the future. I am probably not going to choose careers related to creative writing, but I will definitely not give up on writing stories and poems that serves powerful cleansing and introspective functions. They will be a good compliment to my life which is likely to be quite scientific and prosaic, such that I will live to my fullest.