Julene's Reviews > Dictee

Dictee by Theresa Hak Kyung Cha
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's review
Feb 08, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: poetry
Recommended to Julene by: Deborah Woodard
Read in February, 2009

I read this book for a class I'm taking on prose poetry. Theresa Hak Kyung Cha was raped, strangeled and murdered right after she received the finished proofs for her book. She was on her way to an art opening of her work. She was 31 years old. Because she was also a visual artist and her family have persisted, her work has lived on. The first 20 pages are difficult to read, but keep pushing forward. Once she gets into the the next section about her grandmother's exile into China and the history of Korea and Japan you will be hooked. This in an emotional book that is brilliantly organized, each section titled with one of the 9 muses from Greek history/myth. I'm so glad to have read this with a class because it helped to understand the layers of organization, the images, the strong female centeredness of her work. She uses St. Theresa and Joan of Arc to frame one of the sections, their pictures are there but it is not listed in the book. Having people to discuss the book with while reading was an essential piece for this masterpiece of collage style writing. Let us all be more adventursome and risky in our writing!

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