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In Medias Res: Poems
“Lee’s strange and gemological arrangements are the measure of her gift. . . .”—from the Foreword by Heather McHughIn the form of an eccentric dictionary, this debut brings to mind the long poems of Anne Carson. In compressed and oddly slanted “definitions,” Lee’s poems move through the alphabet in an attempt to limn the border between language and spirit. In Medias Res is an ...more
Paperback, 72 pages
Published October 1st 2004 by Sarabande Books
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I am usually not in the Saraband camp, but I bought this in NY last year because something calmed me about the layout - little pieces of things alphabetized like a dictionary. And it was rather calming. A one-sitting kind of read with a penchant for words pertaining to ornamental interior design, furniture and jewels/gemstones. I did learn some good words. The structure (a sort of dictionary) reminded me of something I wish my friend Misty would write (we'll see, we'll see). But the big thing ab ...more
I wish I could give this 3.5 stars. There are lots of good things--images that carry throughout, the nautical feel of what appears like a beautifully written dictionary. BUT. Some of the poems are short, which is fine, but they don't pack the punch of something like Hemingway's "Baby Shoes." Some of the "definition" poems distracted me from some of the repeated imagery like the folded paper plane, curious children, and the seaside scent of salt.
Strange things are happening and unfolding as "the rose of the world" in Karen An-hwei Lee's lost and found poems. "These words are translated as life" act as intercessory prayers for shattered and tired readers and writers. There is "unseen wealth" to be discovered and mined in In Medias Res' intertextuality and intelligence. Write on, KAL!