Project Details
Funding Scheme : General Research Fund
Project Number : 18606215
Project Title(English) : Engaging Everyday Modernity: Hong Kong Poetry in the 1970s 
Project Title(Chinese) : 日常生活的現代性:一九七零年代香港新詩 
Principal Investigator(English) : Prof Yu, Kwan Wai Eric 
Principal Investigator(Chinese) : 余君偉 
Department : Department of Literature and Cultural Studies
Institution : The Education University of Hong Kong
E-mail Address : ekwyu@ied.edu.hk 
Tel : 2948 7351 
Co - Investigator(s) :
Prof Hsiu, Winway
Dr Wong , Leung Wo
Panel : Humanities, Social Sciences
Subject Area : Humanities and Arts
Exercise Year : 2015 / 16
Fund Approved : 252,000
Project Status : Completed
Completion Date : 31-12-2017
Project Objectives :
offer a comprehensive study of Hong Kong poetry in the 1970s regarding everyday modernity: discovering the representative works and authors, major themes and poetic styles in this respect
interview major authors concerned to learn about their poetic designs, everyday life experiences and acknowledged artistic influences
theorize about the poetic practices involved, making use of the scholarships of lyricism, modernist poetics, and other relevant theoretical resources (including sociological discussions of everyday life) as well as findings from the interviews
Abstract as per original application
In the 2008 Hong Kong Literature Festival, the veteran poet Wu Yin Ching 胡燕青 gave an interesting paper titled "Food, Clothing, Housing and Transportation in Hong Kong New Poetry" (xianggang xinshi li de yishizhuxing). The Chinese expression "yishizhuxing" 衣食住行 refers to the basic necessities of life. As the most mundane part of our daily existence, such needs and activities might not seem to be particularly poetic to many readers. But some of Wu’s examples are remarkably lively, imbued with deep emotions without giving in to sentimentality; some deal with disagreeable urban experiences, yet enlivened by personal reflections and aesthetic devices. The object of this project is the poetic treatments of everyday modernity in 1970s Hong Kong, but not restricted to the four basic necessities mentioned above. By “modernity” we mean the social changes brought about by urbanization, commercialization and other socio-economic forces of capitalist development. Such social changes and their diverse effects as experienced in people’s everyday life were particularly palpable during the 1970s, when rapid development took place in Hong Kong due to the “economic take-off,” social changes and urban development. The importance of Hong Kong poetry about daily urban experience in the 1970s lies not only in its function as vivid historical documents. Some of them are of high literary merits. Many poets concerned had developed their writing skills with inspirations from Western modernist arts and literature or from classical and modern Chinese poetry, including the modernist variety in Taiwan. Writing poems of such lyrical quality or personal insights about the commonplace is always a great challenge. The best of Hong Kong poets at that time succeeded and left us a rich literary legacy. This project investigates the thematic nuances and literary skills in these poems, focusing in particular on the subtle expressions of emotions and self-reflections, examining how poetry serves as a privileged medium bridging private experiences and larger social or cultural concerns. The project will make use of and further develop existing scholarships of modern Chinese poetry as well as Western modernisms. Thematic and theoretical inspirations will also be drawn from research on everyday life and modernity in sociological and cultural studies. As a vibrant meeting place between East and West, 1970s Hong Kong produced some of the best, or at least most interesting, modern Chinese poems, which may be hybrid in language or artistic conception; thus a comparative perspective will be adopted where appropriate.
Research Outcome
Layman's Summary of
Completion Report: