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Flower Spirits, Drifting Leaves, and Trees of Transcendence


Riemenschnitter, Andrea (2018). Flower Spirits, Drifting Leaves, and Trees of Transcendence. Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies, 20(8):1188-1208.

Abstract

Covering the formerly British colonial space, Hong Kong’s parks, gardens, and urban plants constitute hybrid transit zones, where local, colonial, and transnational horticultural legacies intersect. Drawing from material ecology, plant philosophy, and theories of sense perception, I will examine how these entities reclaim a realm of aesthetic agency in Leung Ping-kwan’s poetry. I argue that the poet’s lyrical dialogues with plants unfold within lingering memories of spiritual, emotional, and sensual landscapes from the past, thus delineating a utopian space where cosmopolitan values and the principle of trans-species conviviality configure visionary politics of a future cityscape. In this way, the poems disrupt the ideology of mastering nature and momentarily overcome the political, cultural, and material mutilation of non-human “others.” Positioned as messengers of an unjustly and more and more forbiddingly partitioned reality, Leung’s vegetal interlocutors gently suggest a different approach towards life on earth and in urban environments while simultaneously addressing critical issues concerning history, community, and postcolonial worlds.

Abstract

Covering the formerly British colonial space, Hong Kong’s parks, gardens, and urban plants constitute hybrid transit zones, where local, colonial, and transnational horticultural legacies intersect. Drawing from material ecology, plant philosophy, and theories of sense perception, I will examine how these entities reclaim a realm of aesthetic agency in Leung Ping-kwan’s poetry. I argue that the poet’s lyrical dialogues with plants unfold within lingering memories of spiritual, emotional, and sensual landscapes from the past, thus delineating a utopian space where cosmopolitan values and the principle of trans-species conviviality configure visionary politics of a future cityscape. In this way, the poems disrupt the ideology of mastering nature and momentarily overcome the political, cultural, and material mutilation of non-human “others.” Positioned as messengers of an unjustly and more and more forbiddingly partitioned reality, Leung’s vegetal interlocutors gently suggest a different approach towards life on earth and in urban environments while simultaneously addressing critical issues concerning history, community, and postcolonial worlds.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:180 Ancient, medieval & eastern philosophy
290 Other religions
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > History
Social Sciences & Humanities > Anthropology
Language:English
Date:17 November 2018
Deposited On:06 Jun 2018 13:11
Last Modified:29 Jul 2020 07:19
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:1369-801X
OA Status:Closed
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/1369801X.2018.1476041

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