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Angela Tian '22 published in China - twice

Angela Tian '22 published in China - twice

At a young age, Wilbraham & Monson Academy’s Zihan “Angela” Tian ’22 has already done something few writers ever accomplish: she has been paid for her writing.

Twice in a two-week span, Angela had a pair of poems published in the Shenzhen Daily, which is the largest English newspaper in China’s fourth-largest city.

Both pieces originated two years ago when Angela was a student in the Middle School. She was paid a little more than $7/poem. The first poem, “To Be Or Not To Be,” was published Jan. 1, while “The Shadow” went to print Jan. 8.


Where did the spark for “To Be Or Not To Be” come from? “The idea came from Shakespeare’s Hamlet. It was my understanding of ‘to be or not to be.’ I wrote the poem and showed it to Ms. (Meg) Hutcheson because I wanted to use it for the Scholastic Writing Contest. She gave me some ideas so I went back and fixed the poem. At Christmas I had surgery so I could not move and I got bored. My Wi-Fi got cut so I started writing and fixed my poem.”

What was the process for getting a poem published in a newspaper? “A friend of mine was visiting me. She’s published some poems and said mine was good. She gave me an email of a publisher to me. And told me I should definitely talk to them. I talked to the publisher, who was from Shenzhen Daily, the only English newspaper in Shenzhen. It’s very famous, (especially) for kids at international schools. I sent my poem and she put it in the newspaper the next day.”

Angela’s reaction on being published: “The first thing I thought of was it must be fake, but then I was very proud. “

Angela on what she likes about writing poetry: “It’s a way for me to write my emotion. At first I wrote dialogue; journals; writing about daily life. It required sentences and grammar. That’s hard for me in English. Poetry is a way to express myself without saying the things I want to express, and everyone else knows what I mean. It feels good to read it. It’s like music.”


To Be Or Not To Be

By Zihan “Angela” Tian


What is the meaning of to be?

Is it something that is related to life?

The smallest unit of life is the cell.

What did this tell us?

The most important thing in this world,

Isn’t the biggest,

but the smallest.

A drop of water can become an ocean.

A piece of leaf can become a tree.

A person can become a miracle.

Then what is “not to be”?

Is it back to the start,

back to the null?

No reincarnation,

sink into the dark!

Flowers crumble, decay and feed the soil.

Oceans dry, exhaust and return to the sky.

Creatures cease, extinct and give opportunity for others.

The stars shatter,

everything facing the end of the universe,

or maybe the start.

Like the moon cycle, phases full to none and back to full.

Being part of this historical cycle.

Living inside this complex system,

standing between to be and not to be.

I am here listening,

I am here finding,

I am here thinking,

the most unassuming parts.