Jiayan Mi - Associate Professor of English and World Languages & Cultures, The College of New Jersey
The military crackdown of the massive student movement in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square on June 4th of 1989 has created an unforgettable date of mourning in the minds of the Chinese people. Although voices to reclaim the movement have been suppressed by the Chinese government, the last twenty five years saw an outpouring of poetry about the June 4th incident, constituting what Jiayan Mi would call “spectropoetics” that aims for conjuring up images of the dead, fighting against the loss of memory, and calling forth a better future. In this presentation, Mi will offer some reflections on the June 4th poetry produced by some of the best contemporary Chinese poets. We will look at how this kind of poetry engages in the themes of death, mourning, trauma, resistance and conjurations in the post-1989 cultural sphere of China.