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Ouyang Yu / Thought Is Free

  • Ouyang Yu / Thought Is Free
‘Journal entries, poems, fragments, meditations. Allusions to and critical engagement with philosophers and writers – Chinese, European and Australian - this is what makes Ouyang Yu’s Thought Is Free a thinker’s work, not a ‘thoughter’s’ who only has thoughts. Delightfully readable!’ - Professor Prem Poddar, Vice-Chancellor of Darjeeling Hills University

‘This book is a treasure for those who are already familiar with Ouyang Yu’s work spanning more than three decades. And if you are not familiar with his work, this is a welcome opportunity to get acquainted with his work and what shapes his writing and thinking. The book contains the thoughts of a writer who is one of the most nationally and internationally recognised Australian-Chinese writers of poetry and fiction in a hybrid narrative of inspirations, citations. It asks questions and provides tentative answers to what makes a writer tick, not least the commitment to writing and its accompanying delights and frustrations, and how they are shaped by living in a particular space at a particular time. A space simultaneously structured by nation/s, but also formed by the writer’s own investment in place, even hesitant sense of community and belonging. It is wonderfully idiosyncratic as such books are, similar in my catalogue of reading to Fernando Pessoa’s Disquietude, even if that was for a different place in a different time. Ouyang Yu’s take is distinctly personal and bears the hallmark of his preoccupations as a writer, as an Australian-Chinese, and as a very human being who is, as we all should all be at this moment of time, at peace and war with the world and its dis/orders.’ - Lars Jensen, Roskilde University

'Yu Ouyang’s jaunty jottings are incredibly alive and bright and first-rate. This challenging book defies any intellectual effort to grasp thought.’ - Bénédicte Letellier, University of Reunion Island

‘Enticing transpoeticnonfiction tag notwithstanding, Ouyang Yu’s Thought is Free is a daring exercise at and assertion of authorial creative freedom by a born-poet and cross-cultural agent provocateur that not only resists discipline and genre categorisation, but unflinchingly defies the readers’ power to pass judgements or expect translation of unknown Chinese words or references. Yet the depth of his reflections and the breadth of his transcultural erudition summon the reader to keep on board an intriguing trip down sour memory lane with a mature migrant poet that is “beyond prizes” and makes no qualms about giving Australia its due dose of bashing. Not that he shows much patience for celebrated Western thinkers whose universalist claims he defiantly contests as “preposterous”. All in all, a nutritious crop of thoughtful fragments strung together into a book difficult to digest but worthy of plentiful “red underlining” awards from its readers.’ - Aurora García Fernández




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