Love Knows No Borders: We Are Here with Wenchuan
New World Press promised that they would donate all the profits to relief work.
Several other poetry collections have been published. One titled Anthology of Poetry for Wenchuan was published by Qunzhong Press on May 24. The first print run of 2,000 copies has been donated to Xinhua Bookstore, which will distribute the books to quake victims in disaster areas to boost morale.
The collection features around 100 moving poems. Many have appeared on the Internet.
One famous poem, entitled Child, hold on to Mommy's hand, reads:
Come, my child
Hold on to Mommy's hand
The road to Heaven is so dark
I fear you might be hurt again
The composition was written by 24-year-old Su Shansheng, who was struck by the image published on May 13 of a dead child's hand stretching out of quake ruins. He adapted a poem which he had written for his cancer-stricken girlfriend three years ago, and contributed it to earthquake victims.
Thanks to the rapid information freeway of cyber-space it received a huge amount of clicks and forwards in the virtual world, and quickly made its way into books and onto various charity vigils where numerous actors and hosts recited it.
When you search the poem's title on Google, you will find over 1 million hits. It was also reported that the poem inspired Chen Tiaoqiao, CEO of the leading Chinese online gaming company Shanda, to donate another 6 million yuan (US$872,053) to survivors. The poem thereby earned the description "most valuable literary creation", while many said their hearts were touched after reading it.
The book also includes works by Chinese poets Ye Yanbin, Zhang Xuemeng, Wang Xiaoni and Yang Liuhong, and others by policemen, medical workers and volunteers from the front line. However, the famous poets' works are not nearly so well- known as some of the improvisations.
"The country has just witnessed a historical Renaissance in Chinese poetry," said the excited writer Yan Yanwen in a speech at Renmin University on June 3. Perhaps. But the worth of many of the poems comes not from their delicate structure and the careful choice of words, but from the heartfelt expression of true feelings.
Anthology of Poetry for Wenchuan
"Ordinary people are choosing to express themselves through poetry, and so the poem is once more the property of ordinary people. Poetry has won back its readers in millions, and it both takes on the burden of social responsibility and honors its value," Yan added.
Poetry in literature has always carried this healing power.
"For days, I did not want to talk to anyone – then on the night of May 19 I felt the impulse to write a poem," Li Shaojun, the editor-in-chief of literature magazine Tianya, told Xinhua. "Poems can express our deepest and strongest feelings, and I felt relief and the return of moral strength after I finished the work."
Before and after the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, in the face of natural disasters, social transformation, and even revolutions, poetry has always been a quick and easy tool to express feelings and ideas.
As an example, when the Chinese people were dissatisfied with the Treaty of Versailles settlement – known as the Shandong Problem – the May Fourth Movement, a cultural and political anti-imperialist movement from early modern China, was formed on May 4, 1919. The New Culture Movement was launched which gave birth to Chinese modern neo-style poetry.