Yu Guangzhong (Yu Kwang-chung) (Writer)


(1928- ) poet, essayist

Yu Guangzhong was born in Nanjing, China, the capital of Fukien Province. He studied foreign languages at Ginling and Xiamen Universities in China before moving to Hong Kong with his family in 1948.

In 1950, Yu Guangzhong fled to Taiwan as a student refugee. He attended Taiwan’s most prestigious institution, the National Taiwan University, where he began to write poetry. He graduated in 1952 and that same year published his first collection of poems, Blues of a Sailor. Highly sentimental and nostalgic, it was very popular.

Yu Guangzhong worked as an army interpreter until 1956 when he turned to teaching. Eventually, he decided to pursue a graduate degree in the United States. He earned a Masters of Fine Arts from the University of Iowa in 1959. He returned to Taiwan in 1959 and taught at Taiwan Teachers University and the Political University of Taiwan. Later, he taught at the Chinese University in Hong Kong.

Yu Guangzhong remained committed to literature, however, and formed the Blue Star Poetry Society with a friend, Qin Zihao. In the 1960s, he moved away from the sentimental style of his past writing and studied both traditional Chinese and modern forms of poetry. He published an article, “Good-bye, Mr. Nothingness!” on this subject, advocating change but discouraging the complete Westernization of Chinese literature.

Yu Guangzhong continued to teach English literature at National Taiwan Normal University until 1972 when he became the chair of the Department of Western Languages and Literature at National Chengchi University. Since then, he has lived in the United States twice as a Fulbright scholar and is the author of many volumes of poetry, including Stalactite (1960), Associations of the Lotus (1964), and A Bitter Gourd Carved in White Jade (1974). He is also a prolific translator of poetry and a prominent literary critic and essayist. Today, he is considered one of Taiwan’s premier men of letters.

Next post:

Previous post: