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The award ceremony of the 5th Zhongkun International Poetry Prize held in PKU

NOV . 23 2015
Peking University, Nov. 18, 2015:On November 15, 2015, the award ceremony of the fifth Zhongkun International Poetry Prize was held in PKU. Chinese poets Shao Yanxiang, Xi Chuan and Russian poet Yevgeny Aleksandrovich Yevtushenko are the winners of this year’s poetry prize.
Hundreds of poets and critics attended the award ceremony, together with famous people such as Xie Mian who is dean of Peking University Institute of Poetry Studies and professor of Chinese Department of PKU, Zhou Qifeng, the formal president of PKU, Jidi Majia, Vice chairman of the Chinese Writers Association, and Denisov, the Russian ambassador to China. The ceremony was hosted by Jiang Langlang.

The award ceremony

Zhongkun International Poetry Prize is a biannual international poetry prize which is now held by Peking University Institute of Poetry Studies, sponsored by Zhongkun Poetry Development Foundation. This prize which has its premier selection in 2007, was regarded as “a remarkable achievement in China” by Cheng Xiaoming, the executive dean of Peking University Institute of Poetry Studies, in his address. He said this year’s winners of Chinese poetry, the old poet Shao Yanxiang and the younger poet Xichuan, represented the past and today’s achievement in Chinese poetry separately, as well as the spirit and values of Chinese poetry to the world.

famous attendees

The pursuits of literariness and poetic features, humanistic feelings emphasizing great love and the critical spirit of realistic concern are the evaluation criteria for international poetry. “Poetry is always about the aesthetic and will have no value without aesthetic appreciation”, said professor Xie Mian who compared poets to honeybees that are able to produce sweetness and peace. Conveyed his congratulations, Jidi Majia in his speech also showed his belief that Zhongkun International Poetry Prize could propel the development of Chinese new poetry and the best memorial of Chinese new poetry for the past century.
Shao Yanxiang has witnessed the birth and the growth of the People's Republic of China. His poems bear the imprint of that epoch, which record the glories and shames, happiness and sorrow, construction and disruption of the past. Faced with the honor, Shao said, “I’m just a good person who happen to be writing poems, that’s all.” As a witness and writer of history, he finds that many young people has forgotten history and forgotten those suffering people and events of their nation. Therefore he uses his works to remind today’s educators, writers and critics of the importance of remembering history and introspection.

Shao Yanxiang receiving the Prize

As a founder of Zhongkun International Poetry Prize, Xichuan said he was “excited and also nervous”. Xichuan reflects upon the fate of the times and people, puts forward “writing with energy”, and believes that “the energy of the times” derives from development, the adjustment and readjustment of social structure, the seemingly unsolvable conundrum, the memories interwoven with sufferings and pains, antagonism and reconciliation, the question to the self, and the exploration of the unknown. “Few people are thinking so deeply like Xichuan about the fate of the times and people and the lost values in our lives. His works are about despair, and about rejection and adherence”, said the jury of the prize.

Xichuan receiving the Prize
Like Shao Yanxiang, Yevtushenko highlighted the importance of history as well. He also expressed his desire for freedom and peace, hoping that “the mushrooms, not the mushroom cloud rising from the atomic bomb, but those tiny, edible ones, will grow on our earth, with some pine needles falling from the pine trees and several colorful butterflies on them just like the flags raised by the united human. Of course, it will be better with some tiny grasshoppers on those mushrooms.”
Yevtushenko is quite prolific as a renowned Russian poet, novelist, film director, and political commentator. He has published almost 40 collections of poems ever since his first poem published at 17 years old. In addition, he is also the writer of some novels and screenplays and collections of criticism. With his poems being translated into over 70 languages, he has been awarded a number of international prizes.

Yevtushenko reciting his poem

Three poets recited their own poems in the ceremony. At the end of the ceremony, Li Yansong, the vice president of PKU accepted the gift send by Russian ambassador Denisov, and gave him The History of Chinese Civilization compiled byPKU and the album as gifts in return.

Written by: Zhang Xinyu
Edited by: Xiao Yunyun
Source: PKU News Center