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Brain-paralyzed woman hailed as China’s Emily Dickinson

Yu Xiuhua, a Chinese woman suffering from brain paralysis, is being hailed as China’s Emily Dickinson, after one of her poems went viral on the Internet. The farmer poet, who is unable to walk and talk normally, has penned poems touching millions.

Yu Xiuhua, a disabled farmer from Hengdian, Hubei province, would never thought of becoming all the rage across the nation, simply because she writes poems as a hobby. She suffered brain paralysis from a lack of oxygen during birth, and is unable to walk and talk properly like an ordinary person. Facing difficulty in high school, she dropped out. Because of physical limitations on her body, she can’t do much farm work except for simple housework or raising animals. An unhappy marriage only brought her a son. While misfortunes dodge her life, she gains mere comfort from poems which she began writing in 2009.

“When I finish writing a poem, I would feel a little bit of satisfaction. I never thought poems would bring me anything. I didn’t think of it in the past, and will not think of it in the future. I feel myself and poems depend on each other. To me, poem is a companion, and a loyal friend,” said Yu.

Despite brain paralysis, her ability to think clearly has not been impaired. Her outstanding talent with words simply shines through the lines that she writes.

As soon as her latest poem, roughly translated as “Across Half of China to Sleep with You”, was posted online, it became an instant hit. “I braved a rain of bullets to sleep with you. I pressed endless nights into a dawn to sleep with you, I am running into one to sleep with you”. Such was the power of her words that popular feminist scholar Shen Rui hailed her as China’s Emily Dickinson.

Themes of her creation center on love, life, her village hometown, as well as her parents. Since 2009, she has written nearly 2000 poems. Fortunately for her she’s gradually got to know some friends who’re like-minded on the Internet. She has got tens of thousands of clicks on her weibo microblog account. Her poems are hits and published in magazines. She’s been interviewed by the press. The disabled poet has stumbled into the public eye. But fame seems to be out of her concern.

The poet said, “All these things have nothing to do with poems. If you look me as a poet, my aim is to write good poems. All other things do not so much have to do with me. If I live, I will write, life might stop and turn harder, but I will never stop with poems.”

Yu Xiuhua regards writing as a private travel escape within herself and a wonderful thing. With her rise in popularity, Yu will not only get to indulge more in the feeling of writing, but the greater feeling of sharing her writing with fans at large.