Wed 17th June

Getting Poetic with PRONOUNCE (and ELEVEN of their Favourite Poems)

Text   Dino Bonacic

There has never been a better time for introspection – and PRONOUNCE’s Jun Zhou and Yushan Li are here to inspire through their favourite verses.

While it is indeed a much overused term in fashion right now, craft is a powerful notion that envelops more than just two hands weaving a fabric. It’s a considered effort of making something, and requires skills, thought and time. Jun Zhou and Yushan Li have always had craft at the core of their brand, despite its highly modern outcome. Based between Milan and Shanghai, Pronounce combines the handiwork with the hi-tech; tradition with newness. So, it might not surprise you that both Yushan and Jun are big poetry lovers who continuously use verses as inspirations for their work. This season, they decided to take that love to the next level. 

Instead of their SS21 show, which was scheduled to take place this June as part of London Fashion Week Men’s, the duo decided to join the industry in slowing down by creating an animated story in the form of an old-school flip-book which embodies their intricate, detail-oriented aesthetics. Based on the traditional Chinese tale of NeZha Fights the Sea, Jun and Yushan have created a story of their own, urging the audience to reconsider their steps before moving forward. “2020 is a new era for us,” says Yushan, “and poetry is abstract enough to lead into an imaginary world.”

In celebration of PRONOUNCE’s next chapter and the whole world moving into a better direction, we asked Jun and Yushan to curate their ELEVEN favourite poems which are definitely worth stopping for. Read on…

1. No Man Is An Island by John Donne

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less,.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as any manner of thy friend’s 

Or of thine own were:
Any man’s death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.

2. A Generation by Gu Cheng

The dark night gave me black eyes,
I use them nonetheless seeking for the light.

3. Far and Near by Gu Cheng

you look at me one moment
and at clouds the next.
I feel
when you’re looking at me, you’re far away,
but when you’re looking at the clouds, how could we be nearer!

4. Dreams by Langston Hughes

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.

5. Moon by Hai Zi

Chimney smoke up and down
The moon is a white ape digging a well
The moon is a white ape smiling wanly on the river

How many times blood trickles out of the sky The white ape flows past a bell tower
The moon is a white ape smiling wanly
The moon breaks its own heart

6. Sense Of Something Coming (Vorgefühl) by Rainer Maria Rilke

I am like a flag in the center of open space.
I sense ahead the wind which is coming, and must live it through.
while the things of the world still do not move:
the doors still close softly, and the chimneys are full of silence,
the windows do not rattle yet, and the dust still lies down.

I already know the storm, and I am troubled as the sea.
I leap out, and fall back,
and throw myself out, and am absolutely alone
in the great storm.

7. Stars by Tagore

If you shed tears when you miss the sun, you also miss the stars.

8. Nizi tachite / Tachimachi kimi no / Aru gotoshi by Takahama Kyoshi

The rainbow stands
As if you are here
In a moment.

9. Sensation by Arthur Rimbaud

Through blue summer nights I will pass along paths,
Pricked by wheat, trampling short grass:
Dreaming, I will feel coolness underfoot,
Will let breezes bathe my bare head.
Not a word, not a thought:
Boundless love will surge through my soul,
And I will wander far away, a vagabond
In Nature – as happily as with a woman.

10. All by Bei Dao

All fates are destined
All clouds are fleeing
All beginnings are without endings
All searches are brief
All joy is without smiles
All sorrow is without tears
All languages are repetitive
All relationships are first encounters
All love is within hearts
All past is in the dreams
All hope carries a note
All faith comes with longing
All bursts are preceded by moments of silence
All death has a prolonged echo

11. Calm Morning At Sea by Sara Teasdale

Midocean like a pale blue morning – glory
Opened wide, wide;
The ship cut softly through the silken surface;
We watched white sea-birds ride
Unrocking on the holy virgin water
Fleckless on every side.