Ouyang Jianghe belongs to the "third generation" of twentieth-century Chinese literature and the so-called "five masters from Sichuan"--poets who consciously distance themselves from the "Misty" (obscure) poets such as Bei Dao and Yang Lian. His writing advocates an intellectual model that is based on reflection and the expression of mature recognition rather than inspiration, sudden impulse, or spontaneous illumination, and is concerned with everyday themes, the insignificant, and the private.
you can take a-
part a handgun, break it
in two, into
a hand a gun
paint the hand black, you've got
put the gun on a boat: that's
a means of persuasion
you can take apart a faction
into further partitions
you can break it into act, or action--
the world divides in infinite fissions
one eye you aim
at love; the other you ram
into the barrel of a gun
the bullets ogle
you level your nose at your enemies'
Critics consider Ouyang Jianghe's poetry some of the most challenging avant-garde verse written in China over the past few decades. His poems, which have the intricate, sculpted quality of fugues, are concerned with dissecting the layers of meaning that underlie everyday objects and notions like "doubled shadows." He is a prominent art critic and chief editor of the literary magazine Jintian; he lives in Beijing.
Austin Woerner graduated from Yale University in East Asian studies. In September 2009 he took part in a joint residency with Ouyang Jianghe at the Vermont Studio Center, where they were the first writer-translator pair in the literature in translation program. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.