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Arthur Sze has captured what it means to be a Chinese-American through a book of poems. Sze's poetry moves beyond issues and questions of culture and into the natural world.
"Classically elegant."--The New York Times Book ReviewSze's free verse emphasizes at once how difficult, and how necessary, it is for us to imagine our world as a system whose ecologies and societies require us to care for all their interdependent parts." --Publishers Weekly"Sze's list-laden sequences capture the world's manifold facts one by one, then through discursive commentary exact from them a sense not only of aesthetic order but of universal cause and effect."--Boston Review"Sze...here captures the energy of life in overshadowed daily events....His poems mine everything from geography, history, and biology to philosophy and nature, interweaving them to create a complex and luminous poetic texture....His poetry is an experience of awakening and pleasure that all serious students of contemporary poetry should have." --Library Journal"Whether incorporating nature, philosophy, history, or science, Sze's poems are expansive. They unfold like the time-slowed cinematic recording of a flower's blooming...Sze has a refreshingly original sensibility and style, and he approaches writing like a collagist by joining disparate elements into a cohesive whole." --BooklistA temple near the hypocenter of the atomic blast at Hiroshima was disintegrated, but its ginkgo tree survived to bud and bloom. Arthur Sze extends this metaphor of survival and perseverance to transform the world's factual darkness into precarious splendor. "Each hour teems," Sze writes, as he ingeniously integrates the world's miraculous and mundane--a woodpecker drilling a utility pole or a 1300-year-old lotus seed--into a moving, visionary journey.Mayans charted Venus's motion across the sky,poured chocolate into jars and interred themwith the dead. A woman dips three bowls intohair's fur glaze, places them in a kiln, anticipatesremoving them, red-hot, to a shelf to cool.When samba melodies have dissipated into air,when lights wrapped around a willow have vanished,what pattern of shifting lines leads to Duration?Arthur Sze, one of America's leading poets, is the author of nine books of poetry and translation. He is professor emeritus of creative writing at the Institute of American Indian Arts and just completed a term as Poet Laureate of Santa Fe, New Mexico.
"Sze brings together disparate realms of experience---astronomy, botany, anthropology, Taoism--and observes their correspondences with an exuberant attentiveness."--The New Yorker"Sze's poems seem dazzled and haunted by patterns."--The Washington PostQuipu was a tactile recording device for the pre-literate Inca, an assemblage of colored knots on cords. In his eighth collection of poetry, Arthur Sze utilizes quipu as a unifying metaphor, knotting and stringing luminous poems that move across cultures and time, from elegy to ode, to create a precarious splendor.Revelation never comes as a fern uncoiling a frond in mist; it comes when I trip on a root, slap a mosquito on my arm. We go on, but stop when gnats lift into a cloud as we stumble into a bunch of rose apples rotting on the ground.Long admired for his poetic fusions of science, history, and anthropology, in Quipu, Sze's lines and language are taut and mesmerizing, nouns can become verbs--"where is passion that orchids the body?"--and what appears solid and -stable may actually be fluid and volatile.A point of exhaustion can become a point of renewal: it might happen as you observe a magpie on a branch, or when you tug at a knot and discover that a grief disentangles, dissolves into air. Renewal is not possible to a calligrapher who simultaneously draws characters with a brush in each hand; it occurs when the tip of a brush slips yet swerves into flame . . .Arthur Sze is the author of eight books of poetry and a volume of translations. He is the recipient of an Asian American Literary Award, a Lannan Literary Award, and fellowships from the Witter Bynner Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. He teaches at the Institute of American Indian Arts and lives in New Mexico.
This collection spans more than a quarter century of published work, including selections from five previous award-winning books, and makes available for the first time the full range of Sze's remarkable poetry. Through the startling juxtaposition of images, Sze reveals the interconnectedness, the interdependency of things and ideas, always with an ear attuned to pitch and cadence.
Arthur Sze has rare qualifications when it comes to translating Chinese: he is an award-winning poet who was raised in both languages. A second-generation Chinese-American, Sze has gathered over 70 poems by poets who have had a profound effect on Chinese culture, American poetics and Sze's own maturation as an artist. Also included is an informative insightful essay on the methods and processes involved in translating ideogrammic poetry.MOONLIGHT NIGHTby Tu Fu can only look out alone at the moon. From Ch'ang-an I pity my children who cannot yet remember or understand.Her hair is damp in the fragrant mist. Her arms are cold in the clear light. When will we lean beside the window and the moon shine on our dried tears?Sze's anthology features poets who have become literary icons to generations of Chinese readers and scholars. Included are the poems of the great, rarely translated female poet Li Ching Chao alongside the remorseful exile poems of Su Tung-p'o. This book will prove a necessary and insightful addition to the library of any reader of poetry in translation.The poets include: T'ao Ch'ien Wang Han Wang Wei Li Po Tu Fu Po Ch -yi Tu Mu Li Shang-yin Su Tung-p'o Li Ch'ing-chao Shen Chou Chu Ta Wen I-to Yen ChenArthur Sze is the author of six previous books of poetry, including The Redshifting Web and Archipelago. He has received the Asian American Literary Award for his poetry and translation, a prestigious Lannan Literary Award, and was recently a finalist for the Leonore Marshall Poetry Prize. He teaches at the Institute of American Indian Arts.from A Painting of a CatNan Ch'uan wanted to be reborn as a water buffalo, but who did the body of the malicious cat become? Black clouds and covering snow are alike. It took thirty years for clouds to disperse, snow to melt.-Pa-ta-shan-jen (1626-1705)The Last DayWater sobs and sobs in the bamboo pipe gutter. Green tongues of banana leaves lick at the windowpanes. The four sur
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