Sinophone verses from lyrical (e)scapes: an account of poetics and poïesis in distress



Parole chiave:

Sinophone poetry; Covid-19 pandemic; distress; collective consciousness; cultural repository


The initial outburst of the pandemic, in early 2020, forced China and the rest of the world into seclusion, anxiety, social alienation. In the Sinosphere, a human response to the aporia of isolation is the lyrical production, a prosperous literary activity through which the individual gives shape to a collective consciousness.

The present paper examines a collection of Sinophone verses sprung from the Covid-19 threat and dismay, as a psychic necessity to re-organize the perception of the outer world. Specifically, it studies a body of fifty-two poems composed by twelve lyrical Sinophone voices, published in Chinese in a spring number of the respected literary journal Jintian 今天. This investigation primarily focuses on the cultural, aesthetic, and psychological value of a lyrical polyphony embodied by unchained Sinophone voices, which sing against the background of a common predicament. In parallel, it reads the collection as a collective memory and a cultural repository, engendered by a narrative projection of experience: to that end, it combines a narratological approach with the observation of certain lyrical features of a “poetics of distress”.


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Biografia autore

Simona Gallo , Università degli Studi di Milano

Simona Gallo is Associate Professor of Chinese Studies at the University of Milan. Specialized in contemporary Chinese and Sinophone Literature, she combines her literary research with Translation and Cultural studies. She recently authored a monography about Gao Xingjian’s critical thinking (2020), and several papers on the topics of cultural translation, intertextuality, transmedia aesthetics, as well as self-translation, which currently stands as her main research interest, together with contemporary Sinophone poetry.

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Come citare

Gallo , Simona. 2022. «Sinophone Verses from Lyrical (e)scapes: An Account of Poetics and poïesis in Distress». Altre Modernità, n. 28 (novembre):286-302.



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