Wai-lim Yip[U.S.A.]
Wai-lim Yip[U.S.A.]

 Bio-Bibliographical Summary

 Called by Jerome Rothenberg “The linking figure between American modernism (in-the-line-of-Pound) and Chinese traditions and practices,”  Wai-lim Yip has been active as a bicultural poet, translator, critic and theorist between Taiwan and America for over 45 years. He was born in Kwangtung Province, China, in l937. He received his BA (l959), and MA (l96l) in English in Taiwan ,where be became a leading modernist poet and theorist and has won many literary prizes, including an award from the Ministry of Education and recognition as one of the Ten Major Modern Chinese Poets. In l964, he received an MFA from the University of Iowa for a volume of original English poems, and in l967, he obtained a Ph. D. in Comparative Literature at Princeton University.

Wai-lim Yip's interests are multiple, but his crowning achievement comes from his lifelong commitment to creating and critiquing poetry in a crosscultural context.  As a poet in Chinese, he attempts to synthesize the heritage of the Chinese poets of the l930's and l940's, the modernist expressive strategies of the West since Symbolism, and those of classical Chinese poetry. As a poet in English, he creates a kind of syntactical flexibility that accomodates the perceptual priorities of both worlds. As a critic and theorist on East-West comparative poetics, he has provided new pedagogical guidelines for deframing monocultural theoretical hypotheses, leading to truly open dialogues between Chinese and Western cultures in an inter-illuminating and inter-reflective manner. As a translator from Chinese into English, his translations of Wang Wei and his Chinese Poetry: Major Modes and Genres offer a fluid perspective from which  one can re-view and, as a result, readjust many current poetic and cultural strategies in the West. As a translator from Western languages into Chinese, he has helped to extend the expressive techniques of contemporary Chinese poetry.

 Since my birth barely three weeks before Japan's all-out invasion of China in l937 in a small village in the southern province of Guangdong, I have gone through many phases of displacements, physical, metaphysical, linguistic.... Childhood: shreds of pain from gunfires and starvation with solitude that was earththick, skybig... First exile: Fleeing from the family-breaking, hatred-instilling yet-to-be tutored Communists, my family escaped to the British Colony of Hong Kong where “white” Chinese oppressed “yellow” Chinese, where “any eye contact is burning perspiration, convulsed stupefaction, and anxiety penetrating through all organs, veins, pores and finger-tips”... First crossing: Bringing with me the stupendous feeling of uncertainty about the future of China.... I came to Taipei, Taiwan for my college education, a Chinese place yet cut off from China...joined the effort of others to resurrect a Chinese culture which would perhaps one day help to rejuvenate the quickly-breaking-down Chineseness, writing poetry, first in Chinese and then in English, transposing, translating, all in the hope of making the world notice what is at stake, not just with the Chineseness alone but with that which has given the Chinese strength to resist the violence of power, the counter-discourse to power hegemony as revealed in classical Chinese poetry and poetics, a dimension which I found emerging, through a different trajectory, in some of the modernist attempts in the West... Second crossing: voluntary exile? involuntary exile? to the U.S. where I have come to become what others have referred to as a crosscultural “site”, a pass.port, so to speak, between two cultures...with tensions, with trepidation, with bad dreams between places, between landscapes, between anxieties, always between, always dis/placed....
 Wai-lim Yip has written more than 50 books in two languages. Chief among them are: Poetry: Fugue?? ??? , Crossing??? ??? , Edge of Waking? ??? ?? ??? , The Wild Flower Story?? ? ??? ?? ??? , The Voice of Blooming? ??? ??? ?? ?? , The Legend of a Pine and a Bird??? ?? ??? ??? ?? , Startled:Travelling??? ? ,Thirty Years of Poetry?? ??? ??? ??, The Ferry that cannot be detained??? ??? ??? ??? ?? ??? ; Moving toward Maturer Age???? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??, Selected poems??? ??? ?? ?? ? ( ed. Yang Kuanghan?? ??? ? ??? .) Between Landscapes (in English,.Pennywhistle  Press, Tesque, NM), The Transcendence of Glaciers ???????????, The Smell or Rains ???????, Ye Wei Lian Shixuan????????먨??? , Between/???/Entre (French translation by Piere Courtaud) ???Criticism and Theory: Ezra Pound's Cathay,  (Princeton Press) Phenomenon.Experience.Expression?? ? . ??? ?? . ? ?? , Order's Growth?? ??? ??? ?? ?? , Comparative Poetics?? ?? ?? ??? , History . Hermeneutics. Aesthetics??? ???.??? ??.??? ??? , Reading the Modern and the Postmodern? ?? ?? ??? ??? ?? ??? ,Chinese Poetics and its Expanded Version ??? ??? ?? ???, ??? ??? ?? ?????????????Daoist Aesthetics and Western Culture ????????????????????????, Diffusion of Distances: Dialogues between Chinese and Western Poetics (U C Press), Paris: Dialogues and Meditations (with Photographer Jonas Yip) and Pound and the Eight Views of Xiao Xiang (bilingual edition); Translations, with critical and theoretical introductory essays: Modern Chinese Poetry, l955-l965 (Iowa University Press);Lyrics from  Shelters: Modern Chinese Poetry, l930-l950  (Garland Press); Hiding the Universe: Poems of Wang Wei  (Wushinsha-Grossman Press) Chinese Poetry: Major Modes and Genres (U C Press/ Duke University Press) Translations into Chinese: T.S. Eliot (The Waste Land), and And All the Trees Sing (translations from modern European and Latin American Poets such as St-John Perse, Seferis, Guillen, Paz, Borges, Machado, Celan, Du Bouchet, Montale, Ungaretti., etc.) and many volumes of lyrical prose in Chinese (A Million Miles of Winds and Smoke??????????,The Reeds of Europa????????????????, A Chinese Sea ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ?????? In Search of Arts and Life?????????????????????,The Quest fo Red Leaves??????????????,Taking Time to Savor Provence???????????????????????,Listening Attentively the Words of Lakes and Mountains?????????????????).
 Prof. Yip has been with UCSD since l967, and has played a central role in the Comparative Literature Section as well as in the Program of Chinese Studies. His influence abroad is significant and extensive. In l970 and l974, as Visiting Professor at National Taiwan University, he helped to launch the first Ph. D. Program in East-West Comparative Literature, and again between l980-82, he took up the Chair Professorship in the Chinese University of Hong Kong where he became instrumental in setting up an M. Phil. in Comparative Literature. While there, he also helped Beijing University to begin their Comparative Literature Studies. He was invited by the Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing University, Fudan University, Shanghai University, Southwest Normal University and The Association of Chinese Writers to give a series of lectures on comparative literature, modernism, postmodernism, modern Chinese poetry in Taiwan, and recent critical theories, including a special session in Shenzhen for representative professors from all universities in China. In May l986, Beijing Univ. issued his In Search of Common Poetics??? ?? ? ??? ?? ??? ??? ??? ? ??? ??? ??? ? ???which became an instant bestseller. At the same time, the 10 books he edited on East-West comparative literature have been avidly read by scholars on both sides of the Taiwan Strait. Between l987-l988, Tung-ta Press honored him by putting out a boxed set of five of his books. In October l990, he was featured as the theme poet in the Second International Conference on Literature  and Religion organized by Fu-jen University in Taiwan. Many literary histories written between l991 and l994 in China identify him as one of the main figures of modern Chinese poetry and critical theory. He was also selected to appear in “Portraits of Modern Chinese Poets” by the Public Television of Taiwan. In l995, he invited ten poets to join him in writing a set of 20 books of poems for children illustrated by noted illustrators as a gift to young readers. His Mother Tree ?? ??? ???  was voted by the Cultural Section of the Executive Ministry as the best publication for young readers for the year of l997. In the same year, a collection of 32 Chinese essays on his work was published: Liao, Tung-liang and Chou, Chih-huang ed., Engraver of Landscapes of Humanity: Essays on Wai-lim Yip's Poetry, Prose, Translations and Critical Theories??? ??? ?? ??? ??? ?? ??? ?. In May of l998, he was asked by Beijing University to give the inaugural lecture in the newly established Comparative Literature Lecture Series in celebration of the l00 Anniversary of Beijing University. In the Spring of 1999, he led several avant-garde performance artists from  the U.S., (Allan Kaprow, Helen and Newton Harrison) France (Jean-Jacques Lebel) and Japan (Shozo Shimamoto)  to do a series of happenings, activities , and performances  as well as lectures at the Tainan National College of the Arts under the title Reflections ont the Arts and Nature in the Postindustrial Age, and he himself provided a whole day of (post-Happening) activities entitled “Living Poetry”, which included leading the audience through poetry to the original moment of multisensory, multimedia poetry; meditating poetry; dancing to poetry; body sculptures improvised from poetic images; paintings improvised from poetry; spring float (courtship and marriage songs along a river with floating cups of wine); spring thaw(ice sculptures improvised from poetry provided); spring thunder (with Kaprow); spring poetry-lanterns,as well as a cooking ritual (his poetry with Kaprow's cooking). Since 1998, Anhui Educational Press in China has been working on the publication of his Complete( Chinese) Works, a total of 9 volumes  released in August, 2004. To celebrate this event, the 7th Triennial Congress of Chinese Literature Association, August 14-18, 2002 in Nanjing  devoted a special workshop to discuss the significance and impact of his work, including the influence of his English writings in the US. He was also asked to give a keynote speech in the same Congress.  In September, 2002, the Main Library of National Taiwan University, his alma mater, had an exhibition of his archives ( letters, early drafts, photos, journal notes, publications in magazines, some 45 or so of his books and numerous articles). A small conference on his contributions was held to launch this event.
In 2005, in view of his prolific outstanding achievements, the University of California, San Diego confer him the title of Distinguished Professor.
In March, 2008 a Conference was devoted to his (Chinese) Poetry“ in Beijing co-hosted by Beijing University and Capital Normal University. The same year, his Chinese Poetics and its Expanded Version ??? ??? ?? ???, ??? ??? ?? ?????????? was reissued as one of the best books in the 20th-Century under the prestigious Collections called Zhongguo Wenku or China Archives (for posterity).