English, Chinese, 2013/05
These spare, yet sensuous poems, selfless, but beating with an inimitable voice and heart, remind me that no matter what the language, no matter what the culture, there is only one poetry: the poetry of the bone marrow. May this haunting, truth-insistent book circumnavigate the whole planet!
Yu Xiang comfortably inhabits the negative space between viewer and subject, artist and artwork, the lover and her beloved in this acrobatic, ekphrastic, meditatively-compelling collection. Fiona Sze-Lorrain’s crisp translation invites American readers to experience Yu Xiang’s poetic mastery half a world away from its formative origins in the Shandong province, bringing into focus the voice of one of China’s most celebrated and memorable female voices. “I have a lonely yet / stable life,” Yu admits at one point in the book. “This is my house. If / you happen to walk in, it’s certainly not / for my rambling notes.” Yu Xiang disarms her reader with exacting imagery and pathos in order to tell the aching, unavoidable truth of womanhood in these striking poems.
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