Yi Lu

Born in 1956 in the southern province of Fujian, Yi Lu is by age considered a ‘second-generation’ woman poet in modern China. A theatre set designer by profession, she is a private poet associated with neither a movement nor school of thought. Over years, her work has earned a consistent readership by virtue of its engagement with ecology through language. Of Yi Lu’s lyricism, American poet Melissa Kwasny says, ‘We are invited not into a world but into a relation with the world. The poet is embedded as human and female and responsible and responsive.’ I agree. Much of Yi’s poetic strength lies with her reticence that honours the silence, the larger world, and the non-human. Yi Lu also writes about the urban, as in ‘Evening Construction Site’ and ‘Arc’, two poems from her sequenced work entitled ‘Construction Sites in the Human World’. My experience shows me that it is not common to find Chinese contemporary poets, let alone women poets, who focus their writing on nature, its crisis and encounters with the urban, without the need to impose human remedy. For this reason, Yi Lu is a refreshing read. Several of these translations will appear in Yi Lu’s Sea Summit, forthcoming from Milkweed Editions.