Vivian (Xiao Wen) Li is a writer, editor, musician, emerging filmmaker, and interdisciplinary artist.
Her passion is creation and co-creation between artists, collaborators, and communities, with themes related to mental health and liminal identity. She is invested in the arts as a way of bridging across cultures, establishing spaces of empathy, and furthering self-discovery. An MFA candidate at UBC, she is an Editor for Augur, as well as most recently Prose Editor for PRISM international. She can be reached on Twitter/ Instagram @vivianlicreates.
On the Poems in the Collection:
“Vivian Li’s chapbook is bursting with beauty and heartache. The poems are alert to history and to the present and what it means to want to “love the taste of the earth.” Li contends with grief and loneliness but ultimately stands on the side of life. There is so much to be caressed by here—it’s a miracle!”
“Vivian (Xiao Wen) Li is the poet of the kissing touch, the bearhug breeze, the home that Love fashions from a house. Her poetry renders tenderness, humanity prodded to be humane, so that we can avoid the double-cross that can be border-crossings (as from China to Canada). She calls for community and unity and communion, knowing “we don’t have to be good / to be loved.” Then, poignantly, she asks, “How many people have we lost / searching for this moment?” Oh yes, finding this announcement of Welcome, well, you are found.”
-George Elliott Clarke
Author of Where Beauty Survived: An Africadian Memoir
“Someday I Promise, I’ll Love You is an intimate series of correspondences “rich with inherited characters,” a chorus of voices calling across time and distance. These poems trace the marks, signs, imprints, and scars of a personal and cultural history, illuminating points of connection: beauty shimmers up from the yolk of an egg; a woman seeks out ancestral traditions; songs wind their way back to joy. From story, dream, memory, and improvisational marks on paper, Vivian Li composes an elegant, capacious collection.”
From “Someday I Promise, I’ll Love You”
Xi, you are most beautiful when you forget
what beauty is. The dew is filled with sun
on days it remains still. Waterfalls, too,
carry with them the earth that must be moved.
Mother kings blue chrysanthemums with her fingers,
her nails tessellate stars into earthy loam
once called hope. Swanning into air, the night curls around her voice like a
somehow she can only sing silver. Your father rusts into
ashes. Allow him to encircle
you because of his lost tenderness,
in his awareness that there is love.