Identity, Expression, and Female Consciousness — Taiwanese Poets Chen Yuhong and Amang

Chen Yuhong
Yang Xiaobin

In a new interview by Chinese poet and critic Yang Xiaobin (楊小濱), two of Taiwan’s contemporary women poets — Chen Yuhong (陳育虹) and Amang (阿芒) — discuss personal experiences in poetry, Western and Chinese literary influences, and the “feminine characteristics” in writing, among other topics.

Born in Kaohsiung, the national award-winning Taiwanese poet Chen Yuhong graduated from the Wenzao Ursuline College of Languages in Taiwan. She spent many years in Vancouver before returning to Taipei. Her work includes several volumes of poetry such as Concerning Poetry (1996), Rivers Flowing Deep into Your Veins (2002), and Annotations (2004). She also translates writings by British Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy and French Tibetan monk, Matthieu Ricard.

Born and raised in Hualien on the east coast of Taiwan, Amang is the author of two books of poetry, On/Off: Selected Poems of Amang, 1995-2002 (2003) and No Daddy (2008), which was published by the mainland Chinese women’s poetry journal, Wings. Her poems have been published in several important Taiwanese literary journals, including Poetry Now and Off the Roll: Poetry+. An active blogger, she hosts an online poetry forum on Wings. Currently, she works as an English teacher in Taipei. She also produces video documentaries.

Yang Xiaobin was born and raised in Shanghai in 1963. He earned his PhD from Yale University and taught at several American and Chinese universities. Currently, he resides in Taipei and works as a research professor at Academia Sinica. A prolific scholar, his poetry collections include Across the Sunlight Zone (1994, winner of the First Book of Collected Poetry Award in Taiwan), and Landscapes and Plots (2008). In an email, Yang writes:

This interview took place on the afternoon of February 16, 2012, at the Landis’ La Brasserie and Le Rendez-vous in Taipei. Chen Yuhong had organized many gatherings of poetry readings at this European-style cafe, while it was Amang’s first visit. We had a pleasant conversation. I used my iPhone to record the nearly three-hour session, after which each of us worked on revising the transcribed version.

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