Show/Hide Right Push Menu   
Go to Content Area

Article Summary

::: :::
Date 2021-02-26


Fort Zeelandia on the Sea Land: The Poetics of Post-colonial Historical Space in Yang Mu's “Zeelandia” and the Manuscript


Hsieh, Kun-Hua

Associate Professor, Department of Chinese Literature, National Chung Hsing University


Composed in January 1975, Zeelandia is Yang Mu's first poem that he clearly wrote with regard to Taiwan’s history in the 17th century. Not only does the poem greatly reflect the Chinese lyrical tradition in classics at that time and earlier, but it also nostalgically reminds the readers of Formosa's writing characteristics. Through a thorough analysis of Yang Mu's manuscript and the final version of Zeelandia, the researcher of this study explored how the poet displays his post-colonial historical view by writing the naval battle.

When using the codicology methods of modern poetry to carefully read the manuscript of Zeelandia, it can be found that Yang Mu makes delicate modifications to set off the unmodified parts through the deletion and replacement of words such as “open”, “her” and “lone sail,” which thereby connects all parts to establish the core image of “cicada tree-sleeping bed-giant cannon” throughout the whole poem. With the core image, the variations in each group of the poem are combined together, bringing out the two narrative lines of lust and the battle in the whole poem and advancing them. In this way, the poet constructs a nostalgia keynote of the vivid, vast sea view in front of Fort Zeelandia in the original manuscript of the poem, focusing successively on the comparison between the cruel killing on the battlefield and the lustful passion in the boudoir. From this poem, it can be a dialectical argument that the poet Yang Mu was influenced by the wave of the Vietnam War when he was studying in the United States, which led him to accumulate thoughts about colonization and desire and further set a focus on the post-colonial writing.

The variations and the narrative advancement of the core image of “cicada tree-sleeping bed-giant cannon” in Zeelandia are already structured as a group poem that is similar to the form of poetry drama. By juxtaposing scenes and scattering sounds in a specific way, the poet creates threads for a certain historical time, including the role image, narrative rhythm, and place space. In the meantime, the colonist’ whispering of “Formosa” transforms the original erotic space into a maternal space integrated with fertility, not only presenting with a textual spirit of the post-colonial historical view, but also becoming the poet’s realistic yet distant response to East Asia and Taiwan.

back to top
Bulletin of Taiwanese Literature