Lunch Talk "Ecopoetry as Method: Reading Gary Snyder as a Cultural Mediator between China and the World" by Winnie Yee
Ecocriticism is a field that is inherently cross-cultural, and poetry is an art form that creates bonds across cultural communities. This paper focuses on Gary Snyder, a prominent poet in his own right, who is famous for his translation of the works by Chinese poet Han Shan. His attraction to Chinese classical poetry and Eastern civilization offers an alternative to the Western developmental paradigm, and the ecopoetry he espouses is pertinent to today’s environmental debates. His references to nature do not function merely as reminders that nature should be respected but as an impetus to reflect on the coexistence of multiple temporalities and agencies. This paper examines Chinese poetry’s inspirational effect on Snyder and analyses his translations of Han Shan’s poetry. Snyder’s ecocritical insights have had a wide influence, particularly on the work of Hong Kong poet Xi Xi. This circulation of poetry offers a means of bridging different cultures. The mutual enrichment achieved by such cultural translations provides a means of transcending the simplistic dichotomies of the East and West.
Winnie L. M. Yee is assistant professor in comparative literature and program coordinator of the MA Program in Literary and Cultural Studies at the University of Hong Kong. In 2019–20 she was a fellow at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society at Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich. Her research interests are ecocriticism, contemporary Chinese literature and film, Hong Kong culture, and independent cinema.
Heidelberg University, CATS Lecture Hall, 010.01.15