Gu Cheng (顾城) (1956-1993) was a Chinese modernist poet and an expatriate in New Zealand. He was a prominent figure in the "Misty Poets" literary movement in China. He was also remembered for his premature death in a murder-suicide incident, which he reportedly slaughtered his wife, Xie Ye and committed suicide.
Gu Cheng was born in 1956 in Beijing, China. His father, Gu Gong, was a poet and a soldier. Gu Cheng had started writing in a young age. However, during the political and social upheaval of the Communist Cultural Revolution of 1960s-1970s in China, he was sent to do hard labor such as herding pigs and working in factories.
In 1977 he resumed his literary career and joined the nascent "Misty Poets" movement. He and other poets in the movement founded the samizdat literary magazine, Jintian ("Today"). In 1988 he moved to New Zealand and taught Chinese literature at University of Auckland. The Misty Poets movement ended after the Tiananmen Massacre in 1989, and many of their works are banned by the Chinese government since then.
In 1993, in New Zealand, according to police report, Gu Cheng murdered his wife Xie Ye with an axe and subsequently hanged himself. This incident shocked the Chinese-language literary community around the world.
One of Gu Cheng most famous poems, One Generation, consists only one line and was written when he was 12 years old.
List of works
- Words without Borders
- Academy of American Poets
- The Forces of Production: Symmetry and the Imagination in the Early Poetry of Gu Cheng
- Dead in Exile: The Life and Death of Gu Cheng and Xie Ye
- Snatching the Last Word(s): Value-driven Suicides and the Role of Narrative in Chinese Literary History
- London Review of Books
- Brief biography and chronology (in Chinese)
- Writers-in-exile after Tiananmen