Can the Young Adults Speak? Poetry from the Sunflower and Umbrella Movements

  • Wen-chi Li


This article explores political aspirations of young adults of Taipei and Hong Kong by analysing the poems written during the Sunflower Movement and the Umbrella Movement. Poetry is a vehicle to convey ideas to the audience. Reading these poems from Taipei and Hong Kong, one can notice several distinctive characteristics. First, the poets have established a broad dichotomy: the upper and the lower, violence and resistance, eloquence and silence, lies and truth, and hypocrisy and morality. Second, poetry is a field for multiplicity. Focusing more on everyday practices, sometimes vulgar, filthy, and obscene, these poems correspond to Bakhtin’s theory of carnival in which wordplay, mimicry, and irony open a space for renewal and rebirth. Additionally, Derrida’s concept of dissemination can help to examine the linguistic slippage that indirectly subverts authority. After investigating protest poetry, the author asks if the young adults can speak. The youth’s voices can definitely be heard when it comes to the concept of “the democracy to come”. The “democracy to come,” conceptualised by Derrida to replace the notion of the future, cannot be reduced to a simple idea, but remains unpredictable, so as to allow itself always to be full of possibilities.

Black Lives Matter Protest. Photo by Mike Von on Unsplash
How to Cite
Li, Wen-chi. 2020. “Can the Young Adults Speak? Poetry from the Sunflower and Umbrella Movements”. FORUM: University of Edinburgh Postgraduate Journal of Culture & The Arts, no. 30 (July).