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Other titles in the Stahlecker Series Selections series:
Sediment (Stahlecker Series Selection)by Sandy Tseng
Synopses & Reviews
"This vivid and clean-lined debut weaves strands of personal and family narrative into short poems with wider symbolic force; the best of them contemplate both autobiography and ecocatastrophe. Tseng's free verse creates strong moods: 'Apple season, the dog eats his fill and falls asleep beside the space heater./ I thought the world was going to end years ago.' Questions of East Asian immigration and assimilation dominate some early poems before giving way to more abstract spiritual dilemmas: 'if our books burn up,/ we will suffer loss and still be saved,/ as those escaping through the flames.' Tseng is equally at home depicting modern cityscapes and presenting far-flung rural locales. In both, she seeks sublimity while restricting herself to familiar words; in both she is able to see impending doom, as when the title poem presents the Indonesian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina in two haunting pages ('The last thing we see is a wall of white crashing... Oil rig evacuations. Cars and cars against the sea wall'). In Tseng's strongest work, everything takes on a surprising, religious dimension as the book drives to a close: 'The voice of the Lord is upon the water,' she warns: 'he intends to strip the forests bare.'" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
In Sandy Tseng's first collection, leaving is both what remains and the act of going to another place, a different lifestyle, an unknown afterlife. This book recounts the pleasures and terrors of transition, of being in between languages. We travel with Tseng, learning that the sediment of our lives--received traditions, half-recalled memories, accrued possessions--might also be the fragments by which we recognize a future life, here or elsewhere.
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