At the age of eighty-five, writer Shi Zhecun 施蟄存 (1905–2003) recollected his long and difficult life journey in a poetic memoir, Fusheng zayong 浮生雜詠 (Miscellaneous Poems of a Floating Life). Comprising of eighty poems, this memoir focuses on the 1930s, when Shi experienced the first big storm of his life, a literary battle with the legendary writer Lu Xun 魯迅 (1881–1936). As a result, Shi lost his “space for survival” in the Shanghai literary world, but fortunately his background in both modern and traditional education provided him with resilience. Indeed, one of the appeals of Shi's poetic memoir lies in the author's deliberate fusing of subtle/classical sentiments with public/modern concerns. As this article demonstrates, while Shi's poems embody an implicit metaphorical quality, his self-commentaries are often down-to-earth and self-referential, creating a tension between the two that allows the reader to have as much space for imagination as desired.

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