BiografieSong Wei 宋炜 lives as a hermit in Chongqing, the largest metropolitan in southwest China; as a Daoist saying goes “Small hermits hide in forests, big hermits hide in cities.” He writes in a simple, clear, almost archaic-sounding language, his subject matters and styles all different from other Chinese poets. A modern Han Shan in spirit? When critic Jing Wendong re-discovered him in 2016, he had produced volumes of poetry but with nothing published, a unique phenomenon in contemporary China.
Since 1988 the poet has been writing about his father’s hometown Muchuan County and created an imaginary landmark: Xia Nan Dao (Southern Basin). Dao means road or “way” as in Dao De Jing (Tao Te Qing). He seems to have vested all his dreams about an ideal rural life in this Southern Basin. “Muchuan County Chronicle: The Book of People or Rural Affairs in the Southern Basin” is only one of his many long or sequences of poems written over the last thirty years.
Song Wei was an independent publisher from 1993 to 1997 but never published a book of his own poetry. Since 2006 he has been editing and publishing a magazine called Geography of Chinese Cuisines. In 2017 he opened a small eatery in Chongqing and named it Xia Nan Dao (Southern Basin). It serves liquor and Chongqing cuisine. I asked him, is the restaurant a continuation of your poetry? He says Southern Basin is first of all a poem and should always be remembered as a poetic location and secondly as a small eatery. What’s the geography and eco-culture of this made-believe Southern Basin then? Well, one can have a glimpse in the poem “Muchuan County Chronicle: The Book of People or Rural Affairs in the Southern Basin”.
© Ming Di
Gedichten van Song Wei
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère