Zhou Sese丨Li Bai’s Work(five poems)

Tr. by Li Fukang     2020-06-16
摘要: Zhou Sese, born in Hunan, China in 1968, is a contemporary poet, novelist, painter, publisher, and a documentary director who currently lives in Beijing, China.



I hear my hometown cooing inside my head.
The ponds are cooing,
The dried leaves, cooing
The vegetable gardens, cooing.
But the frog does not coo, crouching in the field
Round eyes stiffening, it seems in a paranoia.
Nor does the boy coo, lying on the door plank,

He is playing a death game,
As soon as I approach,
He jumps up, throwing me down.



When moody

You crawl into the tub

Water rising to your nostrils

When happy

You swim from the tub

Into the sea

Your man or woman

Dies in a bathtub

They die happily

Foam stirring at their belly

Your freedom

Blue freedom

Expands infinitely

In the tub

Li Bai’s Work

After the thunder I come to the Shitai County
The thunder carries me to a bed on the rocks
I lie down in the middle of the mountains

In the daytime I cross the Qiupu River
Smooth is the river water and high above, the mountains
Walking with caution
Li Bai came here five times. What did he come for?
For river fish or peasant chicken soup?
I find a sunflower orchard outside the back window
A wisp of smoke, flames after the rain
They’re the most fabulous sunflowers I’ve ever seen.
Li Bai, no one has seen him before
But I am going to play him tomorrow
Tonight I get excited like thousands of frogs

In the Xiangkou Village of Hengdu Town

Because what Li Bai failed to do
I can do it for him right here 

The Skinny Old Man

One snowy evening
Du Fu came to Sichuan
His friends built for him a hut

On the bank of the Hanhua Creek
Which was taken as her possession

By a concubine of the Governor

After Du Fu left Sichuan
For Hunan
Where he died at Tanzhou
On a boat bound for Yueyang
If I were there in my hometown
His family
Should have shared my thatched cottage
Du Fu was a thin old man
In his pocket
Coins were tinkling

Du Fu's Thatched Cottage


There are a thousand thatched cottages

In a thousand visitors’ eyes

It's not the thatched cottage

In my imagination

My cottage is

A baggy wooden table

A whining bamboo chair

Paper and ink readily available

My body

Lies down like a bug

Shits smell with a scent outside the house

And when spring comes

The pace of the tourists is getting closer

I like one of them

A woman who looks like a plantain

Her face

Has traces of tears

I also like

The thatched cottage blown green with spring breeze

The grass on the roof

The hairs on my body

No one is watching

(Tr. Li Fukang)


Zhou Sese, born in Hunan, China in 1968, is a contemporary poet, novelist, painter, publisher, and a documentary director who currently lives in Beijing, China.

Sese has published a number of poetry collections, including "Under the Pines", "17 Years: Selected Poems of Zhou Sese", "Lishan Mountains", "The Storm is Coming", "How Good is the Figure of a Fish", “Moss”, “End of the World”, and “Rhinoceros”. His published fiction works include "The Apple", "Crows of Zhongguancun", "Original Taste", "Chinese Brothers" which was turned into a 30 episodes of a TV series. A collection of Sese’s paintings and calligraphy, "Zhou Sese: Poetry and Calligraphy" was published in January 2019. His poems have been translated into English, Japanese, Spanish, Swedish, French, Mongolian, Korean, and Vietnamese. Zhou Sese is the winner of multiple awards, including the first prize of the First Contest of Chinese Blog Poetry (2005), China's Most Influential Top Ten Poets of 2009, International Best Poet of 2014, China's Outstanding Poet of 2015, the 5th Chinese Laurel Poetry Award (2016), Poetry Award of 2017 Annual Outstanding Works, 2017-2018 Poetry Collection Award of the 5th China Contemporary Poetry Award, 2018 Poetry Award of Ren-Ren Literature Award. Sese is also recognized as one of the Top Ten Chinese Poets in 2018, winning Beijing Literature’s Poetry Award of Key Excellent Works of 2015-2016 and Ten Excellent Poetry Collections of 2017.

Sese is the editor-in-chief of Kaqiu poetry magazine and the co-editor of a number of poetry anthologies, including Chinese Poetry Anthology in the New Millennium, The Leaderboard of Chinese Poetry (annual series), The Poems We Have Read in Those Years, Read Good Poems, Say Good Night to Children (5 Volumes), and  Chinese Contemporary Poetry Selection (in Chinese and Spanish), etc.

Zhou Sese is the founder of Lighthouse International Literature Award, Lishan Poetry Award and Kaqiu Warren Poetry Award. He is also the head of both Lishan Poetry Club and Chinese Poets Field Investigation Team.

Zhou Sese was invited to the 27th Columbia Medellin International Poetry Festival, the 7th Mexico City International Poetry Festival, the 3rd Asia-Pacific Poetry Festival, and attended the Chinese Writers' Forum held by Confucius Institute Latin American Center. He has given lectures on literature and read his poems at Neruda Foundation, Universidad Santo Tomás,Universidad Tadeo Lozano de Bogotá, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico, Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo Leon,and Universidad Autónoma de Chihuahua.

Zhou Sese initiated "writing towards outdoors", "rebuilding the enlightenment spirit of Chinese poetry", and creatively started "meta  poetry writing in simple language."

His poems are published in the French LEVURE LITTERAIRE, the Mexican Periódico de Poesía, Estudios de Africa y Asia, the Medellin poetry magazine Prometheus, the Mongolian Seasons and Writers, the multi-language World Poet Quarterly, the Chinese Poetry Selection (2017 Chinese-English bilingual edition), the Homecoming and Departure--Chinese and Australian Contemporary Poetry Selection (Chinese Volume, Chinese-English bilingual), and the WORLD POETRY Yearbook 2013.

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