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Echoes. Collected Poems | Review

It is a fine task to welcome a new young poetess with her first book, which comes in a splendid and extensive collection with the auspicious title ECHOES. The poetess, JANE YANG alias Yang Yue, in her mid-twenties, is a native of Shiyan, one of the up-and-coming industrial cities in Hubei Province with the impressive Wudang Mountains in the background. Jane studied in a renowned comprehensive university first in Wuhan, where she took a Masters degree in Mass Communication, then in New Taipei at National Taiwan University of the Arts, where she studied Graphic Communication as an exchange student while working on a master's degree. Her interests appear chiefly to lie in communication and visual arts, but at the same time - even more so - Jane is drawn to the poetic word.

A young woman, romantic and cool, this is a poetess who discovers new worlds as she finds herself. She casts delightful, but also depressing glances at what she tries to grasp anew and capture in poetry. Art provides imagery, which continues in the word. We find beautiful poems, short forms, interesting and dense images: words sometimes arrive as if spoken or even whispered into the wind. To the wind? As an echo only to one's own voice? It is different: the poetess waits for answers, for related voices coming from the wide world … or at least from the World Wide Web. Jane likes Greek mythology, and we know that 'Echo' is a beautiful nymph. Jane Yang's fine collection with poems, ECHOES, is to be initially published on Amazon's literary platform in Chinese, but we wish the work a wider distribution.

Beautiful clear images, such as those of our poetess and perhaps of all Chinese lyricists, the new and the old, are convincing and inspiring. For a moment, one thinks of women poets or courtly Ladies in early times writing on bamboo boards … while sitting nowadays at a computer or laptop, to operate the keyboard and let the sentences sparkle in the electronic sky. Clear images, polished images, poetic points. Here are some: 'Thrilled or euphoric / You take off the perfect mask / Though the light of the night is penetratingly dazzling' (興奮抑或狂喜 /你取下完美的面具 / 而夜的光太刺眼). Or: 'In the wilderness where lilies blossom / The tabooed play was performed once / The hippy and the knight in embrace / To write a song, crazy but calm …' (野百合盛開的曠野 / 那裡曾上演被禁忌的遊戲 / 嬉皮和騎士相擁 / 譜寫一曲瘋狂又冷靜的歌).

Imagism was once put in a nutshell by Ezra Pound, who loved Chinese culture. His verses, the three-liners (including the title) are a confession: 'In a Station of the Metro / The apparition of these faces in the crowd: / Petals on a wet, black bough.' - Blossoms that lit up briefly disappear into the underground forever. But Jane, flaneur, poetess, does not disappear. She is here with her first book, and we love it. So says 'The Elegy of Roses': 'The warrior is haunted by the songs of Siren / While the birds are following the footprints of Apollo // In the night drowned in the longing for you / Every inch of moist soil is buried / In the petals of poppies …' (勇士思戀塞壬的歌聲 / 飛鳥追逐日神的足跡 // 想你的夜晚 /每一寸潮濕的泥土 /都落滿罌粟的花瓣).

Danger and desire mark the poles of her poetry, but also the search for happiness. Dangerous, of course: 'You threw the fumy cigarette butt / Into my desolate dreams.' Otherwise there is a great desire for change, as shown in the poem 'Hey, Listen!': 'Cleanse all the makeup / Put down the heavy shield / We are two joyful deers / Running deep into the forest.' But you can't run away; you have to stand firm even if you belong to the minorities. Drifter Jane is one of China's young voices, self-confident, well-educated and independent. In former times in Europe we would have called her and her generation Jeneusse dorée. In China nowadays I have called the well-educated young people, so self-reliant and confident in themselves, the BYD (Build Your Dream) Generation.

Wulf [Noll]

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