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Renowned poet Lin Heng-tai dies at the age of 98

09/24/2023 08:30 PM
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Acclaimed Taiwanese poet and writer Lin Heng-tai. Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Culture
Acclaimed Taiwanese poet and writer Lin Heng-tai. Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Culture

Taipei, Sept. 24 (CNA) Acclaimed Taiwanese poet and writer Lin Heng-tai (林亨泰) died on Saturday at the age of 98, said the Ministry of Culture, which will submit a request for Lin to be honored posthumously by a presidential citation.

Born in Beidou County, Taichung Prefecture, which is now known as Changhua County, during the Japanese colonial period in 1924, Lin was best known for modern vernacular-style poetry, according to a statement issued by the ministry on Sunday.

Using the pen names Hen-jen (亨人) and Huan-tai (桓太), Lin was affiliated with several literary organizations, including the Silver Bell Society (銀鈴會), Modernism (現代派), Li Poetry Society (笠詩社), Taiwan PEN (台灣筆會), and others, the ministry said.

In 1949, he published his first poetry collection called "The First Cry of the Soul" (靈魂的產聲), and in 1956, he became part of the "Modern School" led by poet Ji Xian (紀弦).

Eight years later, he co-founded the Li Poetry Society with friends in literary circles and served as the first editor-in-chief of the "Li Poetry" (笠詩刊) magazine.

Modern poetry was Lin's primary creative genre. From the release of his first poetry collection in 1949 to "Poetry of Life (生命之詩)" in 2009, Lin was active for six decades, the ministry said.

He also authored such works as "The Long Throat" (長的咽喉), "Collected Poems of Lin Heng-tai" (林亨泰詩集), and "The Unbeatable History" (跨不過的歷史), and translated "An Introduction to the Method of Paul Valery."

Lin received numerous awards throughout his career, the ministry said, including the Oxford Prize for Taiwanese Writers, the Wu San-lien Literary Award, and the National Award for Arts.

Culture Minister Shih Che (史哲) described Lin as a poet and writer who held a prominent position among the "translingual generation" of writers in Taiwan's literary history.

That generation generally refers to writers who combined Chinese and Japanese in their works later in the Japanese colonial era and in the post-World War II years.

Shih said Lin was leaving behind a priceless legacy and a profound example for generations to come, and that his passing signified the end of a remarkable era in Taiwan's literary history.

(By Chiu Tsu-yin and Chung Yu-chen)


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