Guest at the ilb 2004, 2008
Xi Chuan (real name Liu Jun) was born in Xuzhou, in the Jiangsu province of the People’s Republic of China, in 1963. He studied English at the Beijing University between 1981 and 1985, and later worked as an editor for the magazine »Huangqiu« (Globe). He was a visiting scholar to the University of Iowa, USA, in 2002, and visiting adjunct professor to New York University in 2007. He is now teaching Classical Chinese Literature at the Central Academy for Fine Arts in Beijing.
Xi Chuan has been well-known in the literary scene since his student days. In 1988, he founded, with friends, the poetry journal »Qingxiang« (Tendency), which was, however, banned after three issues. Between 1990 and 1995 he worked as an editor for the unofficial magazine »Modern Han Poetry«.
Xi Chuan is especially known for his long prose poems. Among his most important works are »Zhijing« (1992; Eng. »Salute«, 1999) and »Ying de Huayu« (1999; t: What the eagle says), in which he turns toward the absurdity of human existence, breaking with the neo-classical tradition of art. He has published four collections of poems to date, including »Dayi ru ci« (1997; t: This is the idea) and »Geren Haowu« (2008; t: Private Preferences), a play and three volumes of essays. In 1997 he edited the collected works of the writer Hai Zhi, who committed suicide in 1989. Xi Chuan also works as a translator, mainly of poetry. In addition to African and English poetry, he has translated works by Ezra Pound, Jorge Luis Borges and Czesław Miłosz into Chinese. His book of poems in German translation, »Die Diskurse des Adlers« (t: What the eagle says) was published in 2004.
Xi Chuan has been awarded numerous prizes, including, in 1994, the Modern Chinese Poetry Prize and, in 2001, the national Lu Xun Prize. A series of grants made long visits abroad possible, in various places, including India, the United States and the artists residence Schloss Wiepersdorf in Germany. In 2005/06 he worked for the programme »Beijing Case« which looked at the boom in the Chinese metropolises, the destruction of old urban structures and sacred sites in large cities. Xi Chuan lives in Beijing.
© international literature festival berlin