Multimedia quake poetry: Convergence culture after the Sichuan earthquake

Heather Inwood

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This article examines a wave of Chinese poetry sparked by the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. Quake Poetry was published online before being re-circulated through digital, print and live media. Multimedia adaptations of one poem are examined to investigate the relationship between the authors of Quake Poetry, the different media platforms, and the people and institutions involved in its proliferation. Media convergence enabled Quake Poetry to fulfil several functions in the aftermath of the earthquake. Most prominently, it served as an emotional outlet for those affected by the quake, while giving its netizen-producers a sense of creative agency as they engaged in participatory cultural production. Members of the contemporary poetry scene cited Quake Poetry as evidence of poetry's ongoing hold over the Chinese national consciousness. Finally, certain poems were appropriated and promoted by China's state-controlled media to propagate a politically expedient image of Chinese unity in the face of tragedy. © 2011 The China Quarterly.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)932-950
Number of pages18
JournalChina Quarterly
Issue number208
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011


  • contemporary poetry scene
  • convergence culture
  • internet
  • multimedia poetry
  • Sichuan earthquake
  • trauma process


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