Life Should Have Been So Serious

Yin Lichuan
Translated from the Chinese by Fiona Sze-Lorrain

I glanced at him casuallymarried him by the waywe fooled around by the waynever had a childI brewed some soup casuallywe lived by the waywith some casual friendstime slipped away by the waywe aged by the wayfell gravely illeven became a model by the waywhat a perfect couple...such harmonywe just took our last breaththe sun cast a glance by the wayon a balcony with no oneNovember 20, 2000

Feature Date


Selected By

Share This Poem

Print This Poem

Qing Touyi

Poet, fiction writer, essayist, film director, and scriptwriter Yin Lichuan is one of the founders of the “Lower Body” Movement based in Beijing during the early 2000s.  Born in 1973 in Chongqing, Sichuan province, she studied French at Beijing University before pursuing a graduate degree in filmmaking at École supérieure libre d’études cinématographiques (ESEC) in Paris.  Her publications include several books of prose and fiction, as well as three volumes of poetry.  Since 2006, Yin has devoted herself to filmmaking.  She lives in Beijing.

Fiona Sze-Lorrain is a poet, translator, editor, and zheng harpist who writes and translates in English, French, and Chinese.  Her recent book of poetry The Ruined Elegance (Princeton, 2016) was a finalist for the 2016 Los Angeles Times Book Prize.  Her work includes two earlier collections, My Funeral Gondola (2013) and Water the Moon (2010), and several books of translation of contemporary Chinese, American, and French poets.  A 2019-20 Abigail R. Cohen Fellow at the Columbia Institute for Ideas and Imagination, she lives in Paris. (

Flagstaff, Arizona

"Spanning over a decade, these are poems of deep irreverence and relentless questioning. With an air of unrestrained freedom in both form and content, Yin Lichuan establishes an immediate intimacy with her reader. She prods at expectations and disdains concealment, as a youth looking at old age, in the earliest poems, and later as a mother. Throughout, she maintains her restless distrust of convention. In these English translations, poet and musician Sze-Lorrain presents an arresting chronological sequence of Yin's fresh and fearless revelations."
—Carolyn Kuebler

Poetry Daily Depends on You

With your support, we make reading the best contemporary poetry a treasured daily experience. Consider a contribution today.