Wang Xiaolong was born in 1954 on Hainan Island in the South China Sea. At 17 he was loading trucks eight hours a day, but then started lecturing on poetry in his spare time, founded the Experimental Poetry Society and edited the volume Selected Experimental Poetry. At 35, he wrote:

Youth and dreams have left me. I am now 35 years old and have a six-year-old daughter and a family to take care of. I am currently working at a state-run video company where every day I confront low-grade movies from Hollywood. The only time I have for release is around midnight, when I keep smoking, keep reading, and keep writing poems that most people don't need.