When J.R. Solonche published The Five Notebooks of Zhao Li in November of 2021, Kirkus Reviews called it an “intriguing set of philosophical poems…a novel in verse [that] offers a glimpse into the most personal thoughts of a creative thinker.” Filled with more of the wise, witty, profound, silly, thoughtful, thoughtless, koan-like musings, THE LOST NOTEBOOK OF ZHAO LI can be considered the sixth and final chapter in the tale of this 75-year-old poet/philosopher, who if asked which one he is, would answer: “Both, but not at the same time.”
“Many times, poets with as many books under their belt as Solonche tend to assume a sage-like persona, presenting themselves as the wise old bard who has the answer to your every question about the universe—including that murkiest thought in the hindquarters of your brain—tucked conveniently up their sleeves. You can practically feel their feet lifting off of the ground as they imagine themselves hovering just a few inches above the rest of man and womankind. The glory of J.R. Solonche is that, over the course of his career (read: over the course of his life) he has been consistently able to keep his feet firmly on the ground. He achieves this through humor. He achieves this through quirkiness. He achieves this through self-deprecation. And sometimes he achieves this through a combination of the three.” —Stephen Cramer
Nominated for the National Book Award and twice- nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, J.R. Solonche is the author of thirty books of poetry and coauthor of another. He lives in the Hudson Valley.