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Jike Bu
(China, 1986)   
Jike Bu

Jike Bu (吉克·布) is the first woman with a master's degree in her hometown, the (Big and Small) Cold Mountains region in the Yi Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan province, southwestern China, and the first woman teaching art in the only college in her hometown, Xichang College. Her name is written as ꐙ ꈌ · ꁬ in her native Yi language.

What strikes me first is the lyrical voice of a young woman from a region that's being talked about often, though with hardly any details. Here is a real person speaking to us, telling us about common flowers and the common names for women there, about pine twigs, buckwheat, shepherd girls, about her grandmother and her mother and their tribe where dark skins are of noble blood, about how they are surrounded by big mountains all around and can only imagine a sea in the far distance, and how they wait for encountering, a painful but almost hopeful dream.

At a time when most Chinese poets are from metropolitan cities writing about urban life in a narrative way, here is an ethnic minority Yi woman, gifted and intelligent, writing almost a different kind of poetry in a very closed place where there is almost no trace of influence from modernism. It reminds us of the poetry in ancient times, folk songs and ballads, hundreds of years before the metrical poetry of Li Bai's time.

Jike Bu (1986-, birth name Jike Ayibujin), was born and grew up in Xichang, speaking the Yi language but writing in Han Chinese; she went to college in Chengdu and later to graduate school in Chongqing, becoming the first Yi woman specializing in visual art. She started publishing poems while in college and became well-known overnight as one of the best Yi poets of the younger generation, but soon "disappeared". She remains obscure. But she is brave and dares to write politically incorrect subject matters and in a politically incorrect style in contemporary China. Call Her Suoma.

© Ming Di


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