With Keen Observations of the Times and Warm Familial Love

Poet Hsiang Yang Lends His Voice to “The Island Chanted in Poetry”

September 4, 2020


Writer, editor and scholar Hsiang Yang has made literary ventures across genres, and concerns himself deeply with a wide range of topics. Moving from poetry and prose to cultural and political commentary, his writing style has also gradually shifted from an early lyricism and elegance to focus on the vernacular landscape of Taiwan and political satire. Now, Hsiang Yang has ventured into recitation, reading four of his important works for “The Island Chanted in Poetry” series. The four poems include “The Tongue Biting Poem”, “A Poem Torn Apart”, “Mother’s Hair”, and “Rain of Grains”, which center around a multifaceted reflection on what it means to be “Taiwanese”, and unfold to reveal a keen sense of the times and fond recollections of subtle familial love.


Written alternately in Chinese and Taiwanese, “The Tongue Biting Poem” is a mixture of humor and irony and a layered depiction of the frenzied mood of Taiwanese society in 1996. Employing elaborate lines and other elements of poetry, the poet repeatedly investigates and asks: What sort of time was it? In “A Poem Torn Apart”, the use of “torn apart” in the title and the blanked-out spaces in the poem epitomize the horrors of the February 28 Incident and the period of White Terror that followed. It is the poet’s attempt to look back to the past and fill in the blanks, resisting the forgetting of history with his poetry. In “Mother’s Hair”, changes in the mother’s hair reflect the different stages of life, while the finely detailed descriptions suggest the loving gaze of a child at his parent. “Rain of Grains” portrays Taiwan tea trees growing vibrantly after receiving rainwater, alluding to Taiwanese people’s self-identification with the island and their self-confidence. The poem concludes on a self-reflective note, ending with the line “Tea prefers to face the sun” (Hsiang Yang literally means to face the sun).


“The Island Chanted in Poetry” series invites writers to read their own works and is produced by Fisfisa Media, which is committed to preserving literature through images. Over the past decade, Fisfisa has made thirteen documentary films featuring writers under the series titled “The Inspired Island”. For the much shorter films of “The Island Chanted in Poetry”, Fisfisa has so far recorded readings of forty works by writers including Chou Meng-tieh, Pai Hsien-yung, Guan Guan, Ling Yu, Chen Li and Hsiang Yang. Fisfisa continues to invite more veteran writers to read their works, in the hope of preserving a “star chart” of Taiwan’s literary figures for a long time to come.


Find “The Island Chanted in Poetry” at online channels including Vidol TV, LiTV and Yahoo TV, and on social media platforms including Facebook and YouTube. You can also follow Fisfisa Media’s Facebook fan page for all the latest news.

“The Island Chanted in Poetry” can be viewed on the following online channels: Yahoo TVLine TVLiTVSocial media platforms: Facebook

Beginning on September 4, stay tuned for the following releases on the Fisfisa YouTube channel each Friday at noon:https://goo.gl/5AaZGs


A Love Poem for Mom—“Mother’s Hair”

Rapping in Chines and Taiwanese—"The Tongue Biting Poem”

The Most Beautiful Scenery in the Four Seasons of Taiwan—"Rain of Grains”

How Exactly Do You Read □□□□?—“A Poem Torn Apart”