Ryland Shengzhi Li

Second Vice President

Arlington, Virginia


Ryland Shengzhi Li (李晟之) is a poet and environmental attorney living in Northern Virginia. He began to write tanka in 2020 after learning about the form from a friend at a haiku meeting. For Ryland, tanka is a way of understanding, healing, and bringing beauty to himself and the world. He believes that reading and writing tanka is a profound gift and, as TSA’s second vice president, he wishes to make tanka accessible to more people. He looks forward to working together with the board and volunteers to facilitate educational programs, foster mentorship and collaborative writing, and reach out to communities traditionally underrepresented in English-language tanka.

the sailboat

fading into a white cloud

slowly, without sound

you disappear

from my world


Cattails, October 2021

lighting up

the long stretch of field

between your house

and mine . . .

fireflies in love


Ribbons, Fall 2021

the giant frog

half hid in the water

cares not

one whit

for Mister Li


Presence 72, 2022