...Jin Haishu clearly enjoys playing with paradox, a paradox which reminds us that benign surfaces occasionally function as a camouflage for some deeper, more obscure menace (and so: intimacy reveals alienation, bluntness has the potential for pain worse than the sharpest blade, while dawn light is inextricably bound up with a darkness it is incapable of expelling). So that we don’t spend too much of our waking lives in Disneyland, he goes out of his way to remind us of some of the harsh facts of life: loneliness is an insoluble condition, and helpless rage is an inevitable response to the kind of society we have so painstakingly arranged for ourselves. And yet, Jin’s uncompromising stance is not an open invitation to pessimism. Life remains worth living—and poetry continues to be a worthwhile form of activity—because our human capacity to make sense of our experiences, even in adversity, brings us a sublime, enduring, quixotic pleasure beyond the daily swirl of endless happy-sadness.
Poems by Jin Haishu: 21 Maxims For My Girlfriend On Her Birthday At 4 A.M. Getting Close Hallucinating In The Dark One Afternoon's Assorted Emotions Rage Sharpness The Old Furnishings Thingummyjigs Waiting