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3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  37 ratings  ·  7 reviews
Ken Chen is the 2009 winner of the annual Yale Younger Poets competition. These poems of maturation chronicle the poet’s relationship with his immigrant family and his unknowing attempt to recapture the unity of youth through comically doomed love affairs that evaporate before they start. Hungrily eclectic, the wry and emotionally piercing poems in this collection steal th ...more
Hardcover, 104 pages
Published April 20th 2010 by Yale University Press (first published 2010)
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pg 8: "When I was little, I thought that the water came out of the showerhead because it was crying. This is because I heard my mother crying and thought it was the showerhead."

pg. 34: "One can use a question mark for many things. For example: as a sicle for cutting people's hearts off."

pg. 45: "The wet lamplight tangles into wire. It will stitch your eyes closed."
This book won the Yale Younger Poets prize annual literary award for 2010, which is a competition open to any American under forty years of age who has not previously published a volume of poetry.

Louise Glück offers a wordy, academic forward highlighting moments in Chen's collection which I found to be somewhat informative, but I'm sorry to say, also a bit dry.

Chen's poetry, however, was not dry. There are instances where Chen captures the Chinese American immigrant story through images of his m
Aug 19, 2011 H added it
from "Long Distance Love--Can It Work?"

Deploy your heart past its range. That sound
is not the heart beating. It stammers.
The goal of love is to be unmastered.

This meat is still alive!


from "The Invisible Memoir"

Against authenticity. If the exotic is the sensuous enigma, no sensuousness. Zero lyricism of food, night markets, Chinese customs, nature. No use of the appositive, the clause that annotates a noun (e.g., "the clause that annotates a noun").

. . .

When translator Herbert Giles compares t
Skipped around a copy dedicated by Ken Chen to one of two owners of a Brooklyn bar, where a man with a possibly Australian accent invited me to play darts with him. I refused to. My shoes were wet. I thought about reaching out to somebody who did not like me via text message. I did not. The cover of the book is a still from a movie I still have not finished, even though I admire the lead actor, who killed himself. Upon exiting I stood briefly next to the other owner of the bar. I had always thou ...more
Jan 26, 2011 Vicky rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Vicky by: via zachary german's reading blog
these poems remind me very much of kimiko hahn, tao lin, jenny boully. i was surprised that it was a yale book, since it is a very wave book, and the expectations or interests seem conflicting there. mostly i felt impatient with this book for its fragmented, collages-of-the-mind tone (even though it seems to me like i would enjoy it; maybe i've become worn out by it from looking at all my own similarly loose lines), but i did relate a lot to the "dramatic monologue against the self" and "the cit ...more
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