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The History of Anonymity: Poems

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  99 ratings  ·  11 reviews
This debut collection of vivid, lyrical poems explores the emotional landscape of childhood without confession and without straightforward narrative. Chang sweeps together myth and fairy tale, skirting the edges of events to focus on the psychological tenor of experience: the underpinnings of identity and the role of nature in both constructing and erasing a self. From the ...more
Paperback, 96 pages
Published February 29th 2008 by University of Georgia Press
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Charlotte Pence
Mar 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
An intimate voice, one who whispers in the ear instead of shouting from rooftops, these poems use space, silence, and fresh language in ways that distinguish them from many contemporary poems. And to find a collection of such work is even more unusual.
If there is a fault to this first book, it links into one of the book’s strengths, and that is the lyrical “I” that dominates the work and speaks directly to the reader—an “I” to “I.” Because of the dominance of this “I,” it relies on the reader’s
Mar 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Another one of those reads where one great poem alone could've made me give this book 5 stars, but this book doesn't stop at just one for sure. Chang's poems have a musicality that carry them so far to make you believe you are reading musical notes, not words. Her mastery employ of distinctive words are apt for the moment, never feels forced, but still surprise and delight. Her poems suggest those great qualities of trance and spontaneity, a free voice unburdened by rules, yet one can't help but ...more
May 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
i love this book. i liked the second half, unction, more than the first -- her language and abstraction are very pretty, but there's no comparison to the genuine emotion in "unction". beautiful, beautiful poetry.
Bella Che
Aug 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Chang’s poetry reminds me of T.S. Eliott’s Four Quartets. Her voice is musical, sentimental, mesmerizing, mystical, melodious yet powerful, thundering, dissolving.... It sounds to me like a muffled cry on a sunny summer day. You see a beautiful lotus in the pond, you see the reflection of blue sky and white clouds, but in a split second, you see watery eyes of a dying sister, you feel the pressing heaviness of dark clouds and thunderous storms, you feel your heart is pounding louder and louder, ...more
Mills College Library
811.6 C4564h 2008
Apr 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
Biased reviewer: my book's in this series. Doesn't stop me from liking it. You will feel like a body and a mind tumbled smooth as seaglass when you read the title track, identities sloughing off, cares of being wearing down. Chang knows what she's doing. Take the ride.
Aug 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Wow! Chang has created a mythic space filled with puddles and mothers and oceans and stilts? maybe even stilts. This book pushes on and on through the subject of family dynamic and personal identity. It is assuredly not a bulbed tulip that will not bloom. It is erupted!
Feb 15, 2008 added it
Shelves: seeking-review
VQR Poetry Series
Nov 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, grown-up
Fabulous collection.
ryo narasaki
May 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
looking forward to re-reading and re-re-reading. to consider: Sister, Mother, and their relationships with water and reflection - rejecting, searching for, and succumbing to each.
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Jennifer Chang is the author of The History of Anonymity. Her poems have appeared in Boston Review, Kenyon Review, New England Review, The New Republic, Virginia Quarterly Review, and elsewhere. She has received fellowships and scholarships from the Bread Load Writers' Conference, Sewanee Writers' Conference, The MacDowell Colony, and Yaddo.

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