Michael Prior’s second poetry collection Burning Province opens with a stark image, one that speaks to the trauma and intergenerational memory that carries through the volume.
Jena Lin was a child prodigy; now, in her early twenties, she uses sex to fill the void left by fame. Jena is still a musician, her professional life taking her from practice to rehearsal and back again. But once a solo violinist who traveled the world, she now finds herself auditioning for a position in an orchestra.
The gentle pitter-patter of falling rain intensifies into a storm: “Wetter / And wetter / The blues darker / And so do the greens…”
A young girl tells her grandmother: “I want to be a haenyeo just like you. You’re like a treasure-hunting mermaid.”
We first learn to swim in the womb, Bonnie Tsui writes, and while “not everyone is a swimmer … everyone has a swimming story to tell.”
Twins Chirri & Chirra are pedalling on their bicycles when they find a cave:
“Let’s take a look, Chirri.”
“Yes let’s go, Chirra.”
With those opening words, the twins in their matching white dresses (only a blue pocket differentiates Chirra from Chirri’s red pocket) ride their bikes into a tunnel, headlights illuminating the path ahead. They arrive under the sea. “Oh,” the rosy-cheeked twins say as they pedal in the water, surrounded by fish, coral and algae.
In China Through Time: A 2,500 year journey along the world’s greatest canal, young readers are invited to explore the people, the stories and the fortunes of the canal throughout history. With illustrations by Du Fei, the book is very much a journey, taking readers through key moments in the canal’s history.