The Grand Poetry Exhibition of 1986

China's Second World of Poetry: Grand Poetry Exhibition of 1986

by Michael Martin Day

"A Grand Exhibition of Modernist Poetry Groups on China's Poetry Scene 1986" (中国诗坛1986' 现代诗群体大展) was a seminal event in the development of contemporary Mainland Chinese avant-garde poetry. As such, the Exhibition is dealt with in some detail with regard to the poets of Sichuan in Chapter 8 of the e-book China's Second World of Poetry on this website. However - as noted in the aforementioned text - there is some confusion as to the exact contents of the Exhibition, and this appendix will attempt to address this issue.

Not a few scholars seem to have based their comments on the Exhibition on the subsequent book: A Grand Overview of China's Modernist Poetry Groups 1986-1988 (中国现代主义诗群大观 1986-1988), published in 1988 by the Shanghai Tongji University Publishing House (同济大学出版社) and edited by Xu Jingya 徐敬亚 (the original editor), Meng Lang 孟浪, Cao Changqing 曹长青, and Lü Guipin 吕贵品. Yet, as the new title suggests, the contents of the book are substantially different from that of the original Exhibition.

This situation is not wholly surprising given the poor quality of the newspaper on which the Exhibition was originally published in the October 21 edition of the nationally-distributed Hefei periodical The Poetry Press (诗歌报, Part I) and the October 21 (Part II) and October 24 (Part III) issues of The Shenzhen Youth Daily (深圳青年报) - subsequently closed in 1987 due to its liberal editorial stance.

Aside from the outrageous nature of the poetry and manifestos published in Exhibition - as judged by orthodox poets, critics, and readers, who were unfamiliar with the poetry being produced and unofficially published in China's Second World of Poetry - the layout of the Exhibition also laid itself open to criticism by some of the very poets whose work was published in it. (See scanned documents.) This was perhaps a natural reaction to the necessarily limited selections of poetry and abbreviated manifestos. Apparently, at the time, many contributing poets were unaware of the manner in which Xu Jingya would arrange for the Exhibition to be published.

In recent years, attempts have been made to recreate the attention-grabbing impact of the 1986 Exhibition. In 2003-2004, the largest such attempt was made by Chengdu's Stars Poetry (星星诗刊), the Southern Metropolitan Daily (南方都市报) and the Internet website New Wave (新浪网, www.sina.com.cn). After collecting manuscripts and manifestos through New Wave from August 2003 until the end of January 2004, from March the selected poetry etc was published in Stars and the newspaper's cultural supplement. That the "Jia Shen Storm Grand Poetry Exhibition" (甲申风暴诗歌大展) and other such similar poetry actions have not achieved the impact of the original Exhibition can be put down to the relative ease with which unofficial poets and poetry can be published on the Internet and elsewhere in the twenty-first century.

In fact, the very use of the Internet indicates the root of the difficulty. Readers interested in avant-garde poetry can find all they want online in poetry webzines, poetry forums, and comprehensive poetry and literature websites, of which a partial list (well over 300) can be found elsewhere on this site. In other words, the Internet itself can be considered an ongoing, ever expanding poetry exhibition. Attempts such as the Jia Shen Exhibition are in danger of appearing as money-grabs, trying to get poetry readers to spend money when much of what they may want is available at no cost on the Internet.

Finally, the original Exhibition has been somewhat mythologized over the years. It is often forgotten that 1986 as a whole was the most liberal year with regard to publication opportunities for experimental poetry to that date since 1949. The political and cultural crackdown that followed in 1987 threw the year into even starker relief, and it was not until the mid-1990s that a similar situation began to develop again. At the time, most of the sort of poetry that was published in the Exhibition was being published in several nationally circulated official literary journals well before the Exhibition appeared. That said, the Exhibition could be seen as a sort of in-your-face denouement for experimental poetry after 6 years of bubbling beneath the surface of the official (über-) face of Chinese poetry. The genie was out of the bottle and not even the events of June Fourth 1989 could put it back in.

China Poetry Scene 1986 Grand Exhibition of Modern Poetry Groups

中国诗坛1986’ 现代诗群体大展

Editor: Xu Jingya徐敬亚


· Xu Jingya’s lead essay in Part One of the Exhibition below can be considered

as an introduction, but is not to be found in the 1988 book.

· Below, all groups – or individuals presented as groups – with manifestos are

numbered 1-65. In the Exhibition approximately 50% of page space is given

over to these manifestos. The lettered poems/poets A-N in Part 3 of the

Exhibition are without manifestos or claims to be groups – these poems were

selected from various unofficial journals from different parts of China.

· The numbering of the groups below is my own based on how a reader would

see it when reading a modern Chinese newspaper page.

· Of the 65 ‘groups’ below, 25 consist of individuals with a manifesto.

· Of these 65 groups, 19 have 5-or-more members.

· Only 6 groups claim membership of 10-or-more, the largest being Not-Not 非非 (#21 below).

· 3 of the groups are not groups with manifestos, but loosely defined groupings defined as groups by the editor. (Misty Poets朦胧诗人,Overseas Poets海外诗人,the University Poetry School大学生诗派)

· 13 of the ‘groups’ are from Sichuan, of which 5 are individuals. There are a total of 21 Sichuan poets with 25 poems (Ouyang Jianghe欧阳江河 , Hu Dong 胡冬, and Shang Zhongmin尚仲敏 appear in two separate instances).

· In the individual group entries below, if a member is still an active, well-known poet and does not have a poem published in the Exhibition, the name of that member has been noted in parenthesis.

· The order in which the groups appear in the ‘exhibition’ and in the 1988 book is rather different. For example, in the book Them他们 is moved to #3 from #1 in the Exhibition, the Misty朦胧 poets are moved to #1 from #44 (1st in Part 3 below), and Not-Not非非 is moved to # 2 from # 21 (1st in Part 2). Politics as usual.

· The book includes more poems from more group members of the groups that the editors apparently believe to be of more importance or higher quality. There are also longer manifestos in some cases. Finally, some groups (at least 3) that were absent from the Exhibition are added in the book: these include the Old Summer Palace poetry group圆明园诗群, the Beijing Four北京四人 and the Friday Poetry group星期五诗群 of Fuzhou. In the case of the Five Gentlemen of Sichuan四川五君 (#45), in the book it becomes the Seven Gentlemen of Sichuan 四川七君 with the addition of Zhang Zao张枣 and Liao Xi廖希, both of whom were no longer resident in China at the time of the Exhibition in 1986 much less the book in 1988.

· A study of the names in the ‘1986-1988 poetry collection’ part of the book (pp. 395-558) reveals that several well-known poets from the Exhibition are absent. One of the reasons for this was a feeling of anger among some contributors in 1986 with the way the Exhibition was published and how it was critically received (overwhelmingly negative), in part the result of how it was edited and published – how it ‘looked’. Among Sichuan’s poets for example, Zhou Lunyou周伦佑, Yang Li杨黎, and Liao Yiwu廖亦武 refused to submit new poetry for the book when invited to do so in 1988. The Shanghai poet Song Lin宋琳 went as an emissary of the book’s editors to the Grand Canal Poetry Conference大运河诗歌研讨会 in Jiangsu province in the spring of 1988 to ask for contributions. Several avant-garde poets were present as invitees and a lively discussion ensued – outside of the official conference of course, a sort of mini-conference for avant-garde poets only. Han Dong韩东 was another who refused to contribute at the time.

Conclusion: From what I have said above, it appears that Xu Jingya徐敬亚 et al. did try

to make the 1988 book appear more ‘serious’, if not of higher quality, than

the Exhibition below.

* Key: The Exhibition is broken into the three parts in which it was published. After the three introductory prose pieces, groups etc. are numbered according to their appearance on the pages of the respective parts. As in the Exhibition, each entry opens with the place of origin (city or province). This is followed by the group name, number of members, names of prominent members without published poetry in the Exhibition, and the names of other group members with the title of their published poetry.

Part I The Poetry Press 21 October 1986 (No. 51)

第一辑 《诗歌报》 19861021日(总第51期)

Prose Introductory Pieces:

Xu Jingya徐敬亚:〈生命:第三次体验〉(文论)

(Introductory essay).

Chen Zhongyi陈仲义:〈展望〉(文论)(essay)

Miao Yushi苗雨时:

Poetry Conference”> 〈诗的观念和诗的反思 ‘新时期诗歌


  • Held on September 10, organized by Poetry Monthly 《诗刊》and Poetry Exploration《诗探索》.
  • Chaired by Yang Kuanghan杨匡汉.
  • Attended byLiu Zhanqiu刘湛秋, Xie Mian谢冕, Wang Guangming王光明, Tang Xiaodu唐晓渡, Wang Gan王干, Liu Xiaobo刘晓波, etc.

Groups, etc:

1. Nanjing南京:Them他们8 members Ding Dang丁当, Xiaohai小海, Xiaojun

小君, Lu Yimin陆忆敏): Poetry from Han Dong韩东

Friend>〈我们的朋友〉; Lü De’an吕德安 〈父亲

和我〉; Yu Jian于坚 〈作品第52号:很

多年〉; Wang Yin王寅 〈朗诵〉.

2. Beijing北京:West Sichuan Group or The Body of Xi Chuan《西川体》One

member: Xi Chuan西川 〈读


3. Wuhan武汉:Real People’s Literature《真人文学》One member: Ye Niu野牛


4. Beijing北京:Supra-Unconscious: Abandon Explanations of Poetry《超前意

识:放弃对诗的解释》One memberShao Jin邵进

a History of Illness>〈病史初稿〉〈夏天〉.

5. Guiyang贵阳:Square Box《四方盒子》One member: Zhao Jianxiu赵建秀


6. Shanghai上海:On the Sea Poetry Group海上诗群》10 membersLiu Manliu

刘漫流, Chen Dongdong陈东东, Mo Mo默默, Wang Yin王寅,

Cheng Maochao成茂朝, Hai Ke海客, Tian You天游): Lu Yimin

陆忆民 〈可以死去就死去〉; Meng Lang

〈冬天〉; Yu Yu郁郁 〈黑 盒〉.

7. Sichuan四川:Macho Man-ism《莽汉主义》10 membersWan Xia万夏, Hu Yu

胡玉, Er Mao二毛, Yuan Yuan袁媛, Guo Lijia郭力家, Hu Dong

, Liang Yue梁乐, Liu Jian柳箭, Ma Song马松): Li Yawei李亚

〈中文系〉(a much reduced, 9 stanza


8. Jilin吉林:Special Forces《特种兵》One memberGuo Lijia郭力家

Color: To Liu Suola>〈第三色块:致刘索拉〉.

9. Sichuan四川:New Traditionalism《新传统主义》2 membersLiao Yiwu廖亦武

〈情侣〉(much reduced) ; Ouyang Jianghe欧阳江河

〈少女之死〉(The October issue of

Beijing’s China Literature Monthly中国文学月刊 featured a special

section containing the poetry of 10 Sichuan avant-garde poets and

Liao’s article/manifesto on New Traditionalism新传统主义. In part,

this explains Liao’s anger towards Xu and this Exhibition.)

10. Chongqing重庆:Breaking Boulder-ism《群岩突破主义》2 membersLiu

Furong刘芙蓉): Zhu Jian朱建


11. Nanjing南京:Expound-ism《阐释主义》One memberYang Yunning杨云宁


12. Jiangsu江苏:Color Poetry《色彩诗》2 membersWang Binbin王彬彬


13. Chongqing重庆:The New Sensation Group《新感觉派》One memberFei Ke

菲可 〈我感到灵魂已


14. Nanjing南京:Supra-Sensation-ism《超感觉诗》7 membersYao Jianing姚家


15. Xi’an西安:Post-Objective《后客观》One memberShen Qi沈奇

of Steles and Its Modern Dancers>〈碑林和它的现代舞蹈者〉.

16. Zhejiang浙江:Cubism Warrior《立方主义战士》One memberFu Hao付浩



17. Henan河南:Triangular Cats《三角猫》3 membersWu Yuancheng吴元成


18. Zhejiang浙江:Coffee Nights《咖啡夜》5 membersTang Jian唐剑


19. Hangzhou杭州:Divination Poetry《卦诗》1 memberCang Jian苍建

(Augury 8)>〈比(卦八)〉.

20. Fujian福建:The Great Tide of Modern Poetry Society《大浪潮现代诗学会》7

membersFan Fang范方〈石标〉; Lu Meng鲁萌


Part II Shenzhen Youth Daily 21 October 1986 (No. 182)


21. Sichuan四川:Not-Not-ism《非非主义》17 membersLiu Tao刘涛, He Xiaozhu

何小竹, Li Yawei李亚伟, Li Yao李瑶, Er Mao二毛, Hong Ye

, Ning Ke宁可, Zhu Ying朱鹰, Liang Xiaoming梁晓明, Yu

Gang余刚, Jing Xiaodong敬晓东, Fan Fan凡凡, Xiao An

安): Lan Ma蓝马 <>〈环形树〉; Yang Li杨黎

〈想起一个人〉; Jimu Langge吉木狼格

〈出门〉; Zhou Lunyou周伦佑 <>

Step Flight of Stairs>〈十三级台阶〉. (Shang Zhongmin尚仲敏 is

listed as an editor of Not-Not # 1, but not listed as a member here.

See below for a possible reason why.)

22. Cross-Province (Sichuan) 超省(四川): University Student Poetry School《大学

生诗派》: Shang Zhongmin尚仲敏 〈门〉

〈卡尔·马克思〉(Formed in March 1985 by Shang and Yan

Xiaodong燕晓东 – both of whom graduated that summer – but the

first of 4 issues of eponymous poetry papers were not published by

Shang until June 1986.

23. Nanjing南京:Everyday-ism《日常主义》7 membersYe Hui叶辉): Hai Bo

海波 〈静物〉

Contemporary Poet>〈一个当代诗人日常生活〉; Zhu Long祝龙


24. Anhui安徽:Century’s End《世纪末》5 membersHang Wei [Zhouzi] 杭炜[

], Meng Lang孟浪): Hang Wei杭炜 〈退稿


25. Hunan湖南: Grieving Indignant Poet《悲愤诗人》One memberChen Lin谌林

<Rivers of Grief and Indignation>〈悲愤的河流〉


26. Nanjing南京: New Colloquial Language《新口语》2 members: Zhao Gang赵刚

〈祖宗〉;Zhu Chunhe朱春鹤 〈下午〉.

27. Zhejiang浙江: Modern Poetry《现代诗歌》3 members: Zhan Xiaolin詹小林


28. Beijing北京: Mood Poetry《情绪诗》One member: Hua Haiqing华海庆


29. Fujian福建: The Transcendent Group《超越派》4 membersJiang Cheng江城


30. Jilin吉林: The Supra-Low Group《超低派》2 members: Lou Fang娄方

〈印象〉; Lu Jiping卢继平 〈歧路〉.

31. Tibet西藏: Seas of Snow Poetry《雪海诗》5 membersMo Sa摩萨, Huang Fan

黄帆, Ma Lihua马丽华): Yang Tao洋涛 〈仓央嘉

措〉; Cai Chunfang蔡椿芳 〈瞬间相错〉.

32. Zhejiang浙江: Horizon Experimental Small Group《地平线实验小组》4

members: Ren Bei任贝 Wife Peak>〈夫妻峰〉;

Ning Ke宁可 〈重庆诗歌讨论

会〉(member of Not-Not); Zhang Feng张锋 〈本

草纲目〉; Zhu Xiaodong朱晓东 〈第二人


33. Sichuan四川: Nine-Line Poetry《九行诗》One member: Hu Dong胡冬

#1, #2, #3>〈第123首〉.

34. Nanjing南京: Orientals《东方人》5 members: Xianmeng闲梦


35. Heilongjiang黑龙江: Poetry of Experience《体验诗》3 membersSong Ci宋词,

Ma Ll马力): Zhu Lingbo朱凌波 〈空


36. Shaanxi陕西: Taiji Poetry《太极诗》One member: Daozi岛子 <Polar Regions:

Something From Nothing>〈极地:无中生有〉.

37. The South南方: The South Group《南方派》3 membersKe Ping柯平, Yi Dian

伊甸, Cao Jian曹剑). (Manifesto only!)

38. Hunan湖南: Fission《裂变》4 members: Hu Qiang胡强


39. Kunming昆明: Sunset-ism《黄昏主义》2 members: Peng Guoliang彭国梁


40. Jiangsu江苏: New Naturalism《新自然主义》4 members: Cheng Jun程军


41. Jiangsu江苏: Breath Poetry《呼吸诗》6 members: Bei Bei贝贝

Agreement>〈默许〉; Yue Fu月斧 〈失题〉.

42. Shanghai上海: Flow of Feeling《情绪流》One member: Chen Minghua 陈鸣华

<Mysterious Mountain Valley>〈神秘山谷〉.

43. Shanghai上海: Subjective Images《主观意象》One member: Wu Fei吴非


Part III Shenzhen Youth Daily 24 October 1986 (No. 185)

第三辑 《深圳青年报》 19861024 (第185期)

44. Cross-Province跨省: Misty Poets《朦胧诗人》: Bei Dao北岛

Artist>〈艺术家的生活〉; Shu Ting舒婷

Cuts>〈停电的日子〉〈秋思〉; Gu

Cheng顾城 〈名〉〈目〉; Liang Xiaobin

小斌 〈文论:诗人的崩溃〉


〈伪装抽烟人〉; Yang Lian杨炼 〈文

论:严肃诗人〉〈地·第三〉; Che Qianzi

车前子 〈文论:编号〉

Exquisite Song>〈优美的歌〉; Jianghe江河

〈交谈〉; Luo Gengye骆耕野 〈文

论:诗观〉〈鳖鱼〉; Mang Ke芒克 (Essay)


45. Sichuan四川: Five Gentlemen of Sichuan《四川五君》5 membersBai Hua

, Zhong Ming钟鸣): Ouyang Jianghe欧阳江河 < The Day is

Waning the Road is Long]〈日暮远足〉; Zhai Yongming翟永明

〈黑房间〉; Sun Wenbo孙文波 < The Story of

the Girl Lu Mei>〈少女陆梅的故事〉.

46. Zhejiang浙江: Extremism《极端主义》4 members: Yu Gang余刚

of Summer or Deep Thoughts>〈夏天的感觉或冥思〉; Liang

Xiaoming梁晓明 〈各人〉

Xiaoming to Appear on a Earthenware Jar>〈等待陶罐上一个姓梁

的姿态出现〉. (Yu and Liang are also listed as members of Not-Not


47. Anhui安徽: Sickroom Consciousness《病房意识》One member: Cao Hanjun曹汉


48. Shanghai上海: The Coquettery Group《撒娇派》5 members: Jing Bute京不特

〈瞄准〉; Pangshan胖山 〈我爱我


49. Sichuan四川: Wholism《整体主义》6 members Yang Yuanhong杨远宏, Liu

Taiheng刘太亨, Zhang Yu张渝): Song Qu Song Wei宋渠 宋炜

< The Great Saying of Yes: Part 4>〈大曰是 第四章 涉川〉; Shi

Guanghua石光华 <The Evening Spreads>〈暮泱〉<Scattered


50. Chongqing重庆: Free Spirits《自由魂》6 membersJian Zhi剑芝, Shiwu式武,

Du Hong杜虹, Yang Yang杨样, Qing Bao庆豹): Chen Xiu


51. Chengdu成都: A Group With No Group《无派之派》One member: Xiao Kaiyu

肖开愚 〈车祸〉.

52. Shenzhen 深圳: Disassociationism-ers《游离主义者》4 membersMa Gaoming

马高明, Lu Yimin陆忆敏): Huang Beiling黄贝岭

〈虚〉〈整个夜晚〉; Shi Tao石涛


53. Beijing北京: Poetry Seeking the Way《求道诗》One member: Wei Mang微茫


54. Fuzhou福州: The New Continent《新大陆》10 members: Rou Gang柔刚

Disharmonious Moment>〈不和谐的瞬间〉.

55. Guizhou贵州: Lifestyle《生活方式》One member: Tang Yaping唐亚平

Black Nightgown>〈黑色睡裙〉〈黑色石头〉.

56. Chengdu成都: In the Dark《莫名其妙》One member: Yang Yuanhong杨远宏


57. Beijing北京: Masculine Monologues《男性独白》3 members: Su Liming苏历铭


58. Changchun长春: Thunderbolt Poetry《霹雳诗》One memberShao Chunguang

邵春光 〈太空笔〉.

59. Wuhan武汉: Drifters《游离分子》4 members: Ruomu Ruohua若木 若华

Stop: Existence etc>〈车站:存在及其他〉

60. Hunan湖南: Oriental Holistic Thought Space《东方整体思维空间》5

members: Haishang海上 〈海葬〉: Luo Jian罗见


A. Beijing北京: Chen Lei陈雷 〈思念〉〈无题〉.

B. Shenzhen深圳: Wang Xiaoni王小妮 〈与蚁

王谈〉〈美国在哪〉; Xu Jingya徐敬亚

Years>〈几年〉〈无奏〉; Lü Guipin吕贵品

〈死船〉〈病箫〉; Cao Changqing

曹长青 〈我很累〉〈停电日〉.

61. Philosophy of Feeling《情绪哲学》One member: Huang Xiang黄翔


62. Jilin吉林: Eight O’clock Poetry《八点钟诗》4 members: Song Zhigang宋志纲


63. Jilin吉林: The Lost Poetry Group《迷宗诗派》One member: Jiao Hongxue焦洪


64. Jilin吉林: Pure Emotion Poetry《纯情诗》2 members: Liulang流浪

Emotion>〈纯情〉; Jiang Shiyuan姜诗元(Hefei合肥)


C. Nanjing南京: Xia Ning夏宁 〈他们〉(From Them他们).

D. Sichuan四川: Xiong Wei熊伟 〈你看怎么


E. Beijing北京: Liu Zili刘自立 〈枷锁〉.

F. Hainan Island海南岛: Zhang Feng张锋 〈美国


G. Beijing北京: Chen Yanni陈燕妮 〈白杨眼〉.

H. Gansu甘肃: Zhang Zixuan张子选 〈这一生〉.

I. Kunming昆明: Wang Kunhong王坤红 〈旧忆〉.

J. Zhejiang浙江: Huang Shi黄石 〈室内乐〉〈星期日〉.

K. Henan河南: Liyang黎阳 〈现状〉.

L. Beijing北京: Xu Hong徐虹 〈节日〉.

M. Sichuan四川: Li Jianzhong李建忠 〈禅树〉.

N. Sichuan四川: Shang Zhongmin尚仲敏 <>

Paper’s Publication and Other Things>〈关于大学生诗报的出版及其

它〉. (From the 4th issue of The University Student Poetry Paper大学


65. Modern Poets Now Overseas《现身在海外的现代诗人》: Yan Li严力

Third Time of Tomorrow’s Yesterday>〈明天的昨天第三次〉; Zhang

Zhen张真 〈城市情人〉;Liao Xi廖希

Holiday>〈独白:节日〉; Zhang Zao张枣 Summer

Song>〈四个四季 夏歌〉.

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