This ambitious first poetry collection deals confessionally with the loss of scientist and poet Jenny Qi’s mother and her own childhood, loss of lovers and friends, ecology, racism and her mixed heritage. There is no fixed focal point linking poems sequentially; a narrative chronology threads the work instead.
Zilka Joseph is a poet in Michigan whose writing is informed by her immigrant experience, an unusual one at that for it’s not just that she was born and raised in India: she’s also Bene Israel, the name for Indian Jews who have lived on the subcontinent for two thousand years. Her new book of poetry, In Our Beautiful Bones, tells mostly of her experiences in the United States.
Aigerim Tazhi is a Kazakh poet whose writings will impress you and move you, a new and exciting voice which, thanks to the work of James Kates, a distinguished translator of Russian, can now finally be heard in English. It goes without saying that the literature of Central Asia and the newly-independent countries of the former Soviet Union needs to be better-known, and this slim volume is a fine contribution to it.
A Vietnamese poet writing in Hebrew?
Many Chinese poets, ancient or modern, seem to Western readers sometimes obsessed with landscapes, and Yang Jian (born 1967) is no exception.
Toward the beginning of his most recent (and thirteenth) collection, Singaporean poet Cyril Wong writes: “I’m a poet of intangible things, so the audience doesn’t quite exist.” This latter assertion is belied by numerous awards, steady book sales and high output over the last twenty years.
“100 poems by 100 poets”: compiled in the 13th century by the famed poet, Fujiwara no Teika, (1162–1241) the Hyakunin-isshu (百人一首) is the most widely-read poetry anthology in Japan. Long celebrated in the arts, including in a famous woodblock series by Hokusai, the anthology is part of the curriculum of all Japanese school children, much as students in England might study Shakespeare.