This article examines modern Chinese writer Nie Gannu's 聶紺弩 (1903–86) poetic exploration of the meaning of life and poetry in times of both personal crisis and sociopolitical crises in China from the 1950s through the mid-1970s. Before and during the Cultural Revolution, Nie was thrice denounced—as a member of the Hu Feng clique in 1955, as a rightist in 1957, and as a counterrevolutionary in 1967 for his critique of the extreme political measures of the time. Political persecution spurred Nie's serious interest in writing classical-style poetry, in which he redefined the role of intellectual writers in the socialist state. His poems were generated from ideological crisis, emotional vexation, and a moral imperative to record unvarnished truth; in an age obsessed with the future, they bore witness to the suffering of the present and the past.

You do not currently have access to this content.