Shandong janitor publishes fourth poetry collection
By Terry Guanlin Li
People's Daily app


(Photo: Tencent News)

Li Xuefeng, a single mother and full-time janitor in Southeastern China’s Shandong Province, is also a poet. Over the past 10 years, she has published four collections of poetry and several novels, Tencent News reported.

According to a report from Iqilu, the writer from Zuo City reads poetry all the time, even at work. 

“I used to read poems and study when I worked at a warehouse. But once I started working here, I didn’t have time so I wrote poems on my hand and read them while I worked,” she explained. 

Li, who will soon turn 50, has been a janitor for 13 years and has made reading poetry at work the most enjoyable aspect of her life. 

Her passion for reading and writing helped get her work published in newspapers when she was younger.

"I thought about sending my work to a newspaper to see what would happen. They published my writing, and they even paid me. It was very encouraging," Li recalled, smiling while remembering this moment in her life.  

Li kept writing after she got married. When her husband passed away due to a work-related injury in 2003, she continued writing which helped her get through the loss. During this time of anguish, she finished a series of novellas. 

In 2009, Li published her first book of poems, "The Charm of Frozen Blossom,” and would then go on to publish an additional three poetry collections.

One of Li’s colleagues said she is no different than anyone else but did acknowledge how she has always maintained a remarkable passion for poetry, even during the toughest of times. 

"I’m happy because every job is just the same, it just depends on the attitude,” she said. 

Li likes working as a janitor because she feels more energetic toward studying and about life after each shift.

"When my first collection was published I felt like I had given birth. It was such a joy that it encouraged me to keep writing,” Li shared.