The DACHS archive on Contemporary Chinese Poetry linked up nicely with my doctoral research (the development of avant-garde poetry in post-Mao Sichuan, 1982-1992) and the work of my doctoral thesis advisor at the University of Leiden, Prof. Maghiel van Crevel (contemporary avant-garde poetry in the PRC, with a stress on more recent developments). My doctorate was completed in October 2005 (and published here on DACHS), and I have now taken up a position as Assistant Professor of Chinese Studies at National University in San Diego, CA (as of January 2007).
Between the years 1982-1992 I lived in the PRC and Hongkong for seven years - Ji'nan, Nanjing, Zhanjiang, Beijing, Xi'an, Hongkong, and Xi'an again, in that order.
I received my BA in Asian Studies and Chinese Language from the University of British Columbia in 1985, after spending two years in the PRC as a cultural exchange university student. Between that time and 1992 I had difficulty deciding if I was to pursue a career in academia or creative writing, so I didn't buckle down to work on an MA until I returned to UBC in 1992 (after a little push in that direction by the CCP).
The MA thesis was, in hindsight, thoroughly non-academic and over-emotional, focusing on the poetry of then-imprisoned friends Liao Yiwu, Li Yawei, and Zhou Lunyou, all of whom are Sichuan poets. While I was not in China as a "scholar" during my last five years living there, my interest in avant-garde poetry, and contemporary Chinese literature in general, meant that I had collected a wealth of officially and unofficially published literary materials by the time I left in November 1991.
Unfortunately, even after the award of an MA from UBC in 1994, I was not yet convinced of my suitability as an academic. Although I did enter a doctoral program at UBC in 1994, two years and the translation of hundreds of contemporary Chinese poems later, I had still not decided what the topic of my thesis would be. All of post-Misty PRC poetry? Not likely. Prof. Michelle Yeh, at UC Davis, tried to help and encourage me, but to no avail - she was too great a distance away from me.
Instead, in the summer of 1997 I moved to Prague to learn a new language and to teach Chinese and English. For various reasons, in the summer of 2000 I felt I was finally ready to do a doctorate. Prof. Michel Hockx at SOAS in London helped me get in touch with Prof. Maghiel van Crevel at Leiden. I also began lecturing on modern Chinese poetry and literature at Charles University in January 2001, again after an introduction from Michel Hockx. Eventually, in 2002, I was enrolled as a doctoral student at Leiden University, while still living and working in Prague. Luckily, I received a CCK fellowship for one academic year (August 2003-August 2004) and devoted that time to the necessary reading and writing that allowed me to complete writing the thesis by December 2004 - and still have time for DACHS.
I have since emmigrated to the USA (2006) -- my wife's homeland -- and am in the process of establishing a Chinese Studies degree program at National University in San Diego. I may be very busy with this for the first half year (from January 2007), but I will continue to contribute to DACHS as much as possible for the foreseeable future.