Relating AugĂ©’s conception of “non-places” to Eco’s notion of open (as opposed to closed) text, this paper observes that consciousness of place in contemporary Macao poetry appears to be dominated by two kinds of space, glossed here as “Macao space” and “anywhere space”. Macao space is uniquely of an historical moment and place, something culturally positioned; in anywhere space (e.g. inside of a casino or an airport) subjects are hailed by consumption-oriented reifications of putative universal value. The contemporary Macao poetry typically values Macao space and sees it as under threat from the “non-negotiable” space of culture that could be anywhere.
Interested in the paradoxes, ironies and hypocrisies inherent in the present-day culture, politics and international position of Macao, the new Macao poetry reveals a place-based poetics deeply concerned with Macao identity, its evolution and potentials.
Keywords: Macao; poetry; place; space