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The Making of a Poem: Rainer Maria Rilke, Stephen Spender, and Yang Mu

The Making of a Poem: Rainer Maria Rilke, Stephen Spender, and Yang Mu l isa l ai- Ming Wong e M Th aking of a Poem Rainer Maria Rilke, Stephen Spender, and Yang Mu One of the formidable challenges for comparatists today is the recong fi uration of Goethe’s term Weltliteratu (1827) r in the age of globalization. In analyzing the making of world poetry, Stephen Owen raised a point about the negative ee ff cts of Western inu fl ence on modern Chinese poetry in his essay “e Th Anxiety of Global Inu fl ence: What Is World Poetry?” (1990). He suspected that Bei Dao had been selling “the state’s brutality” and “the sue ff ring of oppression” in China to the West in a highly translatable language (Owen, “Anxiety” 9). 2 In so doing, the poet sacri - c fi ed poetry to his own self-interest. Owen’s views about the loss of culture and the decline in contemporary poetry from mainland China aroused heated debates and were harshly criticized, most notably by Michelle Yeh and Rey Chow, as symptom- atic of Orientalist bias (Yeh, “Chayi” 4–96; 9 Chow, Writing 1–26). Yeh found Owen’s accusations self-contradictory, as a result of his desire for die ff rence. In insisting on the cultural http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Comparatist University of North Carolina Press

The Making of a Poem: Rainer Maria Rilke, Stephen Spender, and Yang Mu

The Comparatist , Volume 31 – May 29, 2007

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2007 the Southern Comparative Literature Association.
ISSN
1559-0887

Abstract

l isa l ai- Ming Wong e M Th aking of a Poem Rainer Maria Rilke, Stephen Spender, and Yang Mu One of the formidable challenges for comparatists today is the recong fi uration of Goethe’s term Weltliteratu (1827) r in the age of globalization. In analyzing the making of world poetry, Stephen Owen raised a point about the negative ee ff cts of Western inu fl ence on modern Chinese poetry in his essay “e Th Anxiety of Global Inu fl ence: What Is World Poetry?” (1990). He suspected that Bei Dao had been selling “the state’s brutality” and “the sue ff ring of oppression” in China to the West in a highly translatable language (Owen, “Anxiety” 9). 2 In so doing, the poet sacri - c fi ed poetry to his own self-interest. Owen’s views about the loss of culture and the decline in contemporary poetry from mainland China aroused heated debates and were harshly criticized, most notably by Michelle Yeh and Rey Chow, as symptom- atic of Orientalist bias (Yeh, “Chayi” 4–96; 9 Chow, Writing 1–26). Yeh found Owen’s accusations self-contradictory, as a result of his desire for die ff rence. In insisting on the cultural

Journal

The ComparatistUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: May 29, 2007

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