Li He, the Poet-Ghost

Tyson, Ian. Ghost. Poetry by Li He, translated by John D. Frodsham (San Diego: Brighton Press, 2005). Copy 26 of 30. Graphic Arts (GAX) Oversize 2007-0701Q

The Chinese writer Li He, nicknamed the poet-ghost, lived during the Tang Dynasty (618-907). He began to write at the age of seven. Each morning Li He would go for a ride on his horse, jotting down thoughts or sentenses as they came to him. These tiny strips of paper would be thrown into a bag and later that night, used as the material for his poetry.

British artist Ian Tyson was inspired by Li He’s method of composition. He created this artist’s book made of unbound printed sheets of poetry, housed in a cloth-covered wrapper. Each volume comes in a tray case with a relief sculpture mounted on top.