Wen Yiduo (1899 – 1946) is a
crucial poet in early twentieth century Chinese poetry. Although he had
enormous erudition and knowledge of classical Chinese literature, Wen
Yiduo chose to write in the vernacular. Although he only published two
volumes of poetry—Red Candle in 1923 and Dead Water in 1928—many of the poems in this second collection are landmarks.
many years, an appreciation and assessment of Wen Yiduo’s
accomplishments as a poet have been delayed, due to circumstances
surrounding his tragic death. In Kunming, on July 15, 1946, Wen gave an
impassioned speech denouncing the Guomindang government and was
assassinated later that day. His work was banned in Taiwan until the
lifting of martial law in 1987; whereas, in the People’s Republic of
China, he was extolled as a patriotic poet, but the subtleties of his
poetry were ignored.