Jidi Majia, male, member of China’s Yi ethnic group. Born in Liangshan, Sichuan province in June 1961, he graduated from the Southwest University for Nationalities in 1982 with a degree in Chinese. Currently the vice-president of the Chinese Writers Association, a secretary in the Central Secretariat of the Communist Party of China, and a representative for the 13th National People’s Congress. Jidi Majia is well-known as a Chinese minority poet, as a representative contemporary Chinese poet, and also as a poet with broad international influence. His poetry collection Song of Love won the Third China National Poetry Prize. In 1994, he received the Zhuang Chongwen Literary Prize; he was awarded the Sholokhov Memorial Medal for Literature in 2006; in 2014, he received the South African Mkiva Humanitarian Award; in 2017, he was the recipient of Poland’s 2017 Ianicius Prize; and that year he also received the Silver Willow Lifetime Achievement Award from the Cambridge Xu Zhimo Poetry and Art Festival. In 2007 he founded the International Qinghai Lake Poetry Festival and assumed the role of president of the festival’s organizing committee, as well as the president of the review committee of the “Golden Tibetan Antelope” Poetry Prize. His writing has been translated into more than thirty languages and published in more than fifty countries and regions.
Jidi Majia’s style of poetry is imposing and majestic. The famed Syrian poet Adunis remarked, “Through his poetry, Jidi Majia seems to attempt to understand all of people’s mysteries and miseries, as well as the individual’s relationships with others and with the universe.” The well-known writer Alai stated, “Jidi Majia’s poems have Yi culture at their roots, and they have also absorbed China’s classical Chinese language as well as the excellent nourishment of modern Western poetry. There is a strong worldly nature to his poetry, which comes from its ample understanding of its own ethnic culture. From this starting point, his poetry goes forth to build a worldly outlook and new poetic heights.
I, Snow Leopard… is one of Jidi Majia’s landmark works. The poem depicts the barbarous murder of a snow leopard, but rather than express sorrow and anger, the writer takes a general topic of ethics and elevates it to an even more complex and compound topic, actually raising it to the heights of the philosophy of life. This snow leopard, bestowed with a human soul, gives out a prophetic description of itself, of the snowy plains, and of humanity’s future. This kind of description is otherworldly in and of itself, but it also has overtones of realism.The Deer Turns Around (Lu Hui Tou) takes a beautiful, moving story and—using the landscape that it develops—reveals the massacre of war and bloody, terrifying acts, expressing humanity’s demand for peace and happiness.
Wall of Earth (Tu Qiang) is about Israel’s Western Wall, but the worldly and spacious nature of the poem quietly emerges as one reads on. On the surface, the titular object is simply a wall made of earth, but the poem’s narrator frequently imagines it to be “the earth wall of the Yi people.” The sweet but sorrowful emotions that arise within the poem are complex and multilayered. The pain of dying tradition, as well as peace, misunderstandings, and thoughts on race and ethnicity, all emerge in the worldly poet’s mind.
Jidi Majia’s new work, Great River (Da He), is a long poem “dedicated to the Yellow River.” Taking the Yellow River as its theme, the entire poem contains more than three hundred lines. It is written with succinct language and a vast, majestic style. Jidi Majia worked on the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau for many years, during which time he developed an extraordinary connection with the Yellow River. In this poem, Jidi Majia carries out a philosophical and metaphysical excavation of the river’s qualities. The entire piece is filled with a mysterious, holy aura, which gives the reader an involuntary sense of respect and appreciation for this great body of water.