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Across China: Deliveryman by day, poet by night

Xinhua | Updated: 2023-04-23 17:15

NANJING -- Wang Jibing, a 55-year-old deliveryman, has just published his second poetry collection "I Love this World Clumsily."

"I'm a clumsy, persistent person. I clumsily love the world and obsessively record life in my writing," said Wang, who published his first poetry collection "Man in a Hurry" in February.

Wang has tried to make a living in a variety of ways over the past decades. He worked as a builder, garbage collector, and is now a deliveryman in the city of Kunshan, East China's Jiangsu province.

"If the life of a deliveryman is bitter like taking medicine, there is no doubt that poetry is the candy for me after the medicine," Wang wrote.

Since 2009, Wang has written over 4,000 poems on a range of subjects, including his working experiences in different cities, his recollections of his parents and hometown, and observations of society and life.

Writing poems has unconsciously changed his demeanour, making him calmer and gentler. And poetry writing comes from his long-term love for literature and reading. "I can say that literature saved me," Wang said.

In the 1980s, when Wang was not 20 yet, he followed a construction team to work in Shenyang, capital city of northeast China's Liaoning Province. While out for a walk one day, he found a roadside book stall where he could read for free. He picked up a book and began reading, and it became his routine every night.

"At that time, I read everything I came across, but sometimes, when I was halfway through a story, the book was gone the next day," he said. So, he came up with the idea to keep writing the stories based on his own feelings and imagination, and recorded them in the form of a diary. He then gradually began to write regularly.

After learning how to use a computer in the 2000s, Wang tried to write poems online. Some local netizens introduced him to several online poetry forums, and the "poems of deliveryman" gradually became known to like-minded people.

"On these online forums, I learned some poetry writing techniques. I also posted my poems and revised them, sometimes even a dozen times, based on the comments of netizens," Wang said.

Life experiences have also enriched the themes of Wang's poems. Particularly after working as a deliveryman, his poems have experienced significant shifts in style and perspective.

Wang said that delivering food allows him to interact with more people and experience more things, and many of his thoughts have been turned upside down. The job has also triggered a deeper understanding and empathy for others within Wang. "I enjoy my job as a deliveryman. It greatly inspires me."

Wang's poem "People in a Hurry," which made him well-known online, is based on an unpleasant food delivery experience in 2019. Because the customer left the wrong address, he had to rush several times to get the food delivered, which also delayed other orders.

On his way back from work, he wrote, "People in a hurry have no seasons, only from last station to the next." He admitted that writing this poem made him feel more comfortable and helped him come to terms with himself.

People who carefully read Wang's poems can discern a certain simplicity and reality in them because the poems are so closely related to everyday life, and capture the joy and suffering of common people. Wang shares the same optimism and sincerity as in his poems. "Struggles in life might occasionally serve as a source of motivation," he said.

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