A Brief Introduction to Encyclopedic Poetry School
The Encyclopedic Poetry School is an avant-garde, experimental and technology-intensive literary group, based in China and France, founded by poet Yin Xiaoyuan in 2007. Its “Creation Unit” consists of 11 innovative, iconoclastic poets, playwrights and trans-genre writers in their 30s to 60s, engaged in encyclopedic writing experiments, who vary in social identities meanwhile from A.I. experts, automobile executive, HR manager, journalist, movie-maker to professor of archaeology. Its “Academic Consultant Unit ”is made up of 30+ professors and scholars specialized in science, art and interdisciplinary research. Encyclopedic poetry writing emphasizes elitism, intellectualism, intertextuality and multiculturalism, which is elaborated by Yin Xiaoyuan in her article Hermaphroditic Writing. The keywords for Encyclopedic Poetry School are Decryptism(from “crossover” to “jointover”), Intertextualism(from “communication” to “countermunication”) and Foresightism(from “introduction” to “forthduction”) Beside the founder, key members of the “Creation Unit” include Sun Qian, Hai Shang, Xiang Yixian, Wang Ziliang, Shan Shui and Langji Tianya, Yang Zheng, Pan Yu, Lu Kang, etc. Hermaphroditism, extracted as a guiding ideology in their sexological positioning of creative writing, especially in character-setting. “Macroscopically parallel universes, microscopically parallel genders”. Self-exploration into undiscovered anima & animus is highly encouraged by Hermaphroditism. Encyclopedic Poetry School pioneered combination physics, astronomy, geography, atmospheric science, geometry, biology, medicine, chemistry, history, archaeology, mathematics, psychology, aesthetics, linguistics, mythology, musicology, cinematics, linguistics, semiotics, architecture, sociology, philosophy, information technical and artificial intelligence, etc., and a systematical integration of classicism, romanticism, Symbolism, impressionism, surrealism, absurdism, expressionism, constructivism, postmodernism in poetry, esp. epics. As for style exercises, codes, Braille, entries, Excel formulas, charts, installation arts, riddles, interactive multi-ending plots, etc. have been integrated so far into traditional literary genres. Distinguished from OULIPO and other groups, Encyclopedic Poetry School attachs more importance to guidebookish, assimilative, constructive treatment of subject matters and encyclopaedia, as well as techniques and new structures and patterns. So far, over twenty books written by school members have been published, including trans-genre works, epics, and poetry anthologies.
Ode to Prime Numbers
Your name is ‘le seul’.
Undeconstructible, and enigmatically unyielding.
As straight as a feather, vividly white as well, is the fragment of bone in the depth of entwined source codes. You never know since when the lips of the cognoscenti started testing on you: They longed to know how the fluttering sequences of binary numbers smell, which scintillate between positive and negative infinity. Ambery? Or just intoxicatingly oriental?
Their coarseness hampered their forlorn attempt to reach you; their lust to disassemble left them nothing but despair and dirty, worn gloves.
Just as what Alphonse de Polignac once said: There is a mirror image of you in the fathomless universe, forever 2 degrees apart from where you are located. You almost felt her sometimes… You have spared no vision or hearing in your exploratory search for her: yet you sank into an ocean of molecules — banal replicas of one another, and then a moor of double helixes blooming and withering ephemerally. All you could see is waving hyphae, stretching along fissures between clusters of stars, whose glimmers tasted so antiquely astringent!
You were chosen out of all others since you were a ripe embryo. Time-roughened hands with sophisticate calmness, combed through and smoothed out kernels of corn, like what Fate did to centillion bytes of data. The blazing ibis from the east condescended to them like a flash of wisdom –- devoutly before her they winnowed away chaff and dust, while you clung to the center of the giant mesh, like a rare butterfly… They let you nestle up among their fingers, held you to the light and murmured with a Mediterranean accent: “Ciao!”
The streets that have supplied you with all colors and sounds of life are in a parallel system to theirs. When you saunter down to the seaside, hands in pockets, local people approaching you with buckets of olives and sardines can not actually meet you, as if you were walking past this place at different times of a day. They indulge in their neon nights while you embrace your sapphire days. Gradually you turn from strangers to dancing partners, lovers and then rivals, in the revelry of darkness!
Growth curves of everything are invisible but to the stars: they appear as emerald waves, rising from feebleness to robustness, soaring marvelously, and then plunging, increasingly close to zero. Just as what the frequency of prime numbers reveals, they end up in decay as you end up in solitude. You are destined to be the last celestial body over seven thousand miles of graveyards.
[Voiceover 1] when you glanced away beyond tracks of time, suddenly he came into view, emerging from underneath surface of the ethereal, gleaming with vigor and tenacity. Those attributes of his do not perish with the body, or even with the soul. He is incarnated everywhere, in weather, energy, and even Zen. A roots-stems-leaves theory could never demystify the origin of him or the canopy above, which could be traced back to Hadean time.
[Voiceover 2]Compared to the entire history of time, phantasmagoric voices rustling through those lines are nothing but drops of liquid in vascular bundles of the universe. Ears which hear them would turn away shyly like autumn leaves. When there drip out mercury, whoever its sound reaches will be doomed.
[Voiceover 3] It has been kept secret, that the Fate of human race had been long predicted, by the final scale the convex meniscus rose to.
Yin Xiaoyuan(Yīn Xiǎoyuán, “殷晓媛” in Chinese) is an avant-garde, crossover epic poet as well as a trans-genre & multilingual writer, founder of Encyclopedic Poetry School (est. 2007), initiator of hermaphroditic writing movement and chief drafter of Declaration of Hermaphroditic Writing. She is author of 18 encyclopedic epics (which add up to a total of 70 thousand lines) and 24 series of short poems with themes varying from physics to chemistry, biology, geography, geology, psychology, calligraphy, photography, musicology, geometry, atmospheric sciences and information sciences. She has gained membership of Translators Association of China, the Poetry Institute of China and of Beijing Writers’ Association. Her works written in Chinese, English, Japanese, German and French were widely published home and abroad in U.S.A.,Canada, Japan, Germany, Australian and Thailand, etc. 9 books authored by her have been published so far, including four poetry anthologies: Ephemeral Memories, Beyond the Tzolk’in, Avant-garde Trilogy, and Agent d’ensemencement des nuages (Encyclopedic Poetry School’ 10th anniversary celebration Series).
Epics by Yin Xiaoyuan: Avant-garde Trilogy (前沿三部曲in Chinese): Nephoreticulum (《云心枢》in Chinese); Polysomnus (《多相睡眠》in Chinese); Enneadimensionnalite (《九次元》in Chinese); Wind Rose Sedecology (风能玫瑰十六传奇in Chinese): Iki of Bashō, Wabi of Muramasa (《武芭蕉,雌村正》in Chinese); Seepraland (《锡璞拉群岛战纪》in Chinese); Wind Quencher (《止风之心》in Chinese); Hanoi Tower (《汉诺塔》in Chinese); Turkana (《图尔卡纳》in Chinese); (Turkana is a hexology consisting of 6 epics:Twilight of Stars: Great East Africa Migration(《恒星将暮：东非大迁徙》in Chinese), la Byzantine(《拜占庭野心》in Chinese), Doppelganger Duet（《自他体二重唱》in Chinese), Lapland Blood-soaked（《血沃拉普兰》in Chinese), The Space-time Optimization Bureau(《时空优化署》in Chinese), The Disappearance within Atacama (《盐湖疑踪》in Chinese),
Ode to Pleasure-seeking
If we were a group of dragonflies
That would be our estrus, with my sisters and I
Indulge in all skills to seek physical pleasure, each way deadly intoxicating
Especially the headstand, frivolous and ostentatiously fascinating
But much more often
There were only three or five dragonflies swiftly fly by
Those naughty kids who chased them
Cut me in half and put me on their heads as a sunshade
So we went our separate ways, as predestined
Once I’ve dreamed
When I wear away slowly
A gutty dragonfly slipping through the net
Standing on its head in the wet water strain
Lu Kang was born in Fujian Province in the 60’s, a wordsmith and a “tea-whisperer”, as the tea men describe him. He is “a connoisseur of tea” in his friends’ eyes. He is a video-producer, an “unofficial” film-maker as well. His fictions are full of montages, which is both thrilling and enchanting to the readers. His most representative works include poetic drama Lotus Must Die, long poem Labyrinth Walls of Autumn, A Surprise, Returning to the Idyllic Life, poetry series include A Rainy Day: Lodgings and Exiles, which were highly regarded. It is said that he is so gifted and introverted that all miracles happen like fireworks only in his brain.
His works have been published in Chinese Modernist Poetry Group, Classics by Poets Returning from Abroad. Books published include Known Deep in the Bones, LK’s Poems, and fiction anthology LK, etc. He was a winner of poetry prize awarded by Poetry Quarterly.
Requiem for a Train
for the victims of the 7/23 high-speed rail crash
The train races through numbers.
A needle like the second hand of a clock lifts backward,
lightning a thousand miles off waits for the thunder.
You won’t find Hell on any map, but
all the flesh-colored flowers are blooming there.
A passenger a tear
only flows for a second, and the train
is gone. Even if, by the next station, eyes are dry,
another ticket is sprinting into the wind.
Dig it up!
This rust-coated archeology of trains.
This form jigsawed together from blasted scraps of meat and bone.
This person deduced from many persons.
This foetus, which decided to go home,
and now pauses in its next life.
Say to the body: come on, machine, roll over it.
Say to the extinguished ashes, burn again.
Say to the tomb, stones, pile yourselves slowly together.
Say to the heart, become a heart once more.
Just don’t give it love, nor give it dreams.
Don’t give it inaudible shadows,
Since the train of your ear and the train of your eye
have inscribed each other’s headstones, since darkness
is blacker than night, and longer.
So go ahead and leave with July.
Throw away your cell phone, your printed orders,
throw away the headlines in the newspapers.
Best to throw both hands into the word “train,”
pull all the jointed bars apart,
bury them in the silent earth.
Yan Yi（阎逸) is a poet of the post-1970 generation. A classical music critic, he worked brief stints as a newspaper reporter and magazine editor. He moved around southern China for nearly ten years, and now lives in the northern city of Harbin, in Heilongjiang province. His poems have appeared in several magazines, including Mountain Flowers, Master, and Flower City.
Snow as a pretext
As soon as the snow falls, things freeze in two states:
The terrible, the beautiful.
Is terrible a slip of the verb out of the mouth;
Is terrible intermittent avalanches in the heart;
Is terrible an unconscious derailment.
And the beautiful is not enumerable. The message of the seasons
Brought on time to the dubitative land; the innocence of children
Rolling with snowballs; the “Hello” of a passerby
Preventing you from falling.
A fable : a flake carrier of a seed grain.
The transmutation between the beautiful and the terrible, the hormonal magic of a snowman.
Shanshui Ruge graduated from a university in France and holds Ph.D. degree in System control and artificial intelligence. He works for an international IT company based in France.
He is interested in metaphysics, and enjoys music, poetry as well as philosophy.
In 2017, he published a collection of poems entitled “An Ant on the Penrose Stairs”, written in Chinese and French.
A special thanks to Lucia Cupertino, for introducing us to these very stimulating poets.