Synopses & Reviews
Marilyn Chin, with her multilayered, multidimensional, intercultural singing, elegizes the loss of her mother and maternal grandmother and tries to unravel the complexities of her family's past. She tells of the trials of immigration, of exile, of thwarted interracial love, and of social injustice. Some poems recall the Confucian "Book of Songs," while others echo the African American blues tradition and Western railroad ballads. The title poem references the Han Dynasty rhapsody but is also a wild, associative tour de force. Political allegories sing out with personal revelations. Personal revelations open up to a universal cry for compassion and healing. These songs emerge as a powerful and elegant collection: sophisticated yet moving, hard-hitting yet refined.
A fusion of east and west, high culture, popular culture, and ancient Chinese history mark this distinguished collection. In traditional narratives and playful song, Marilyn Chin elegizes the loss of her mother and grandmother and unravels the complexities of her family's past. She sings out the trials of immigration, exile, thwarted interracial love, and social injustice personal revelations leading to a universal cry for compassion and healing.
A fusion of East and West, high culture and popular culture, ancient Chinese history and the American present.
About the Author
Marilyn Chin was born in Hong Kong. She is the author of three previous poetry collections and a novel. Her work has appeared in The Norton Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, The Norton Anthology of Literature by Women, and Best American Poetry, among other publications. The winner of the PEN/Josephine Miles Literary Award, five Pushcart Prizes, fellowships from the United States Artists Foundation and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, among other honors, she lives in San Diego.