I Respectfully Call You a Poet
By Xu Jingya
There are at least two kinds of poetry in the world. The daily poetry and poetic language that dance around this world like butterflies are presumably, as people used to say, presided over by the Muse. I admit that I regard them all as poets — from an anthropological and sociological standpoint. And the other group, those super-intelligent and gifted poetry with unique views and linguistic magic can only be in the charge of God himself. I believe they are poets who can influence human beings — this is from the standpoint of poetics, wisdom and dignity.
Over the years, I have been thinking about poetry in both broad and narrow terms. As to the front-line poets, I hope to be as critical and caustic as possible. And when it comes to thenumerous folk poets, I hope to be more and more tolerant. My basis is that poetry has become a remote tribe of society in current China. What mattersa lot is no longer whether poetry is written well, not very well or not well at all. Poetry has been reduced to a “tribal identification code” in the face of tough survival, and itdraws a boundary line separating the world from heaven between one group and another... To put it more strictly, the adherence to the harsh standards of good poetry is actually the only reason for a poet to persist in his writing, just as,despite our unconditional admission that some creatures belong to women, the entire human race has very strict standards for beauty.
After reading about 10 poems written by Sanquan, I felt:he struck me.
He is less a martial artist who flips his sword or dances Monkey King's golden cudgel around than a silent man with slight solitude, sneering, occasionally stabbing a few daggers and turning away. In fact, this elegantly cold daggering has long become popular nowadays. It all depends, in the same way, on how sharp your dagger is, how deep it goes and how skilled you are.
Our interest and effectiveness in reading poetry, as it is, originate from a common sense. There are, after all, some mutual inductance and common notions and channels in thousands of different human feelings.
As a matter of fact, reading in the poetry world is quite awful.When reading, those of us who have livedwith poetry, or those fellow poets, are not so much professional, experienced and picky as insensitive, mutually contemptuous, occupational-disease-like and innately jealous. The praise that prevails in this circle fall roughly into three categories. The first is to compliment shamelessly. If ignorance is excluded, such flatterers should change their careers or commit suicide. The second is to praise frivolously. Words floating on water, he dares not make sincere comments. It’s obvious that his face hidden behind blushes slightly. The last is that the reader’s aesthetic sense is thrilled and the border of his inner feeling broken through. The most wonderful reaction at this time is that it even has a ring of poetry in his own mind, assuming that he chooses to say it at all.
Sanquan has an amazing sense of “time”.
He said: the moment I write down "time", I’ve used it up. This was the instant when the devil quickly appeared and was quickly wiped off.
The basic framework where we feel the world is constituted by time and space which respectively make up bone and soul. No one can describe time, for it has neither shape, nor beginning or end.
Sanquan said: I use up myself, so I prove that I am the edge of time. This showed not only perception, but Einstein’s judgment and declaration, almost writing a formula of time.
Without special research, he couldn’t have written in a difficult sense of belonging: time belongs to a rain that does not exist. He visualized the passage of time and then virtualized it.
He said: I've been spending what’s left in my life... After my father passed away, my mother makes what’s left. Sad and cruel, he delicately cut the endless time into fish segments, separating the living and the dead.
He said: time needs no refueling... Like the sleeping part of watching a movie, which is ruthlessly ignored.
He said: everything repeats, except death.
There being noother contemporary Chinese poet who can deal with time in such an exquisite way, Sanquanseems to be a professional time taster in some of his most ingenious poems.
Undoubtedly, I’m most impressed by the first series “Time Sketch”. And my feelings weakened in the next few series. Poetry is not produced in a fixed mold, and no poets can ever write poetry of the same height as the wheat stubble.
I can’t seem to get out of the habit of favoring golden lines when reading poetry. Those beauty-like lines are the deepest scratches in a poem, which, just like the bleeding grooves next to the blade of a dagger, trigger and release the reader’s peak experience. My standard for golden verses is very simple: first, the life consciousness should be highlighted. Second, the feeling aspect should be lightened. Third, the linguistic rhetoric should be transparent.
Of course, I also like gentle, quiet and pure poems that can wake up emotional echoes. Instead of spotlighting only a few lines, it shines with moderate and penetrating brightness. Tepid and smooth as its poetic quality is, it can have the same concentration as borscht. That’s another class of low-key eminent monk.The poet is required to be transparently bright, emotionally independent, and even reservedly knowledgeable about philosophy and aesthetics.Mostly compassionate and sentimental, such poets walk on the other side of the moon.
When reading Sanquan’s poems, I feel like treading a rolling road. I want to seek his highest point — that is, the elevation from which he, himself alone, views the world.
I found that Sanquan’s sense of space is also very impressive. He said: I exchange one hour for the height of the mountain / and 30 minutes for its return. With exquisite words and flexible and noble connotation, he described the relationship between climbers and mountains in a diplomat’s demeanor. He said: the sea kept magnifying its sadness / it sewed and tore its wounds... This feeling is shared by many people, but Sanquan's experience and rhetoric are more vivid and distinct. Others can stab while he can stab as well as bleeding. He said: every drop of water is gritting its teeth. Soextraordinarily fierce.
In searching for his perception of noumenon, I found：when aging comes / my body is unexpectedly somewhat obedient, which, in a cultural sense, suggests self-fragmentation and unwillingness. In terms of the poet’s inner sense of writing, however, such self-questioning is rather energy-consuming and requires a considerable surge of waves in his heart. The diction is quite sophisticated, for example,“unexpectedly” is so overwhelming, and “obedient” extremely precise. He also said: a reed flower lives on behalf of me. This revealed the sadness typical of Sanquan.
Interestingly, I came across 10 quotations in this collection, which I found from nowhere after a brief search. So I might as well make a thorough search on the Internet, only to discover no trace. I guess those lines came from some books he read that have a certain religious trait. I did smell something different in this collection:having a large area of granary, I still bow to pick up a stalk of rice... Lord of nature... please fit me with an elk’s eyes and a sheep’s heart.
Angry at the flooding of celebrities’writing prefaces 26 years ago,I wrote an article titled I Refuse to Preface Others’ Works. Now I’m old enough to break my promise made out of sorrow and indignation when I was young. When it comes to poetry, where there is a feeling, there is a comment. Otherwise, no matter whose work it is, I have no comment to make.
Back to the beginning, what makes a poet? I believe: he who can only move himself is a self-rescuer to take poetry as medicine. He who can move others is the poet to rescue all beings.
Sanquan, I respectfully call you a poet.
This is the preface I write.
March 10, 2022
供稿：原作者 | 责任编辑：牧 野