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Writing on Landmarks: From Yellow Crane Tower to Phoenix Terrace
poems written on walls, occasional poetry, occupying (or possessing) a landmark site, intertextuality, simulation and competition
|Issue Date:||2018-02-06 16:25:58 (UTC+8)|
This paper begins with a close reading of Li Bai’s “Ascending Phoenix Terrace in Jinling” to explore his varied responses to Cui Hao’s “Yellow Crane Tower.” Tracing a series of poems related to the same subject, it examines the poetic practice of writing about scenic spots or landmark sites during the Tang dynasty, with reference to the literary discourse on this practice and other pertinent topics. First, the literary community of the time seems to have reached a consensus that one poet is capable of making an exclusive claim to a landmark with one defining poem that, in retrospect, comes to shape how the very site is perceived and represented for generations to come. Therefore, questions arise: How is the phenomenon of “occupying a landmark site with one poem” made possible in the first place, and what are its implications and ramifications for literary practice and discourse? Second, once a landmark site is deemed to have been occupied by a precursor, what does this mean for the latecomers who are expected to continue to compose poems on the same site? Li Bai seeks to overcome his sense of belatedness and reverse his relationship with Cui Hao as his precursor through simulation, reappropriation, and rewriting, while composing his own poems on Yellow Crane Tower and other places. As a result, he participates in constructing what may be described as an “intertextual landscape,” which is by definition movable rather than permanently associated with a specific site, thereby deviating from the model of occasional poetry written on landmark sites. A strong poet, Li Bai manages to incorporate his precursor’s poem into the intertextual landscape by revealing the latter’s indebtedness to his own predecessor. Third, from Li Bai onward, a number of poets come up with their own strategies to cope with their belatedness in writing on the landmark sites. A critical survey of their deliberate responses allows us to further reflect on the premises of occasional poetry while reviewing a cluster of interrelated issues, including simulation and competition, experience and fiction, writing and materiality, and the occasional poems and their relationship with the physical sites they apparently take as their subjects.
|Appears in Collections:||[政大中文學報 THCI Core] 期刊論文|
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