Li Nan 李南
“Poetry’s ultimate goal,” Li Nan writes, “is to keep oneself in equilibrium with good. It shines a beam of beauty, love, and kindness on people. It has a powerful spirit that transcends nation, race, and religion; it makes it possible for us to embrace in the darkness. Poetry takes place in time. I offer it in time as a witness to all that is.” Small is a collection of ordinary images floating on the background of the ordinary life of ordinary Chinese people. It is profoundly local, bringing a cohesive and condensed light to a human world beautifully small. Each of the twenty-five poems, covering almost twenty-five years of writing, is memorable in itself, but what is most memorable is the tone of the book, a mixture of humility and the sheer joy of existence.
cover art by Steven Schroeder