Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Kiss

The evening of his death, my Grandfather, James A. Kramer, Sr., left a goodbye gift for his wife that enriches our family history and opens a pathway to peace in death. Twenty-two years ago today my Grandfather died. My parents, having always been open about death, had allowed me, aged 10, to see the hardware staples surgeons used in 1988 on Grandpap because they didn’t think he would make it. This is not unlike the government knowing for years that the asbestos my Grandfather laid during the day would by no uncertain terms kill him later in life.

Those suffering from mesothelioma often feel as if their bodies are on fire. For this reason my Grandfather sucked on broken pieces of banana popsicles until he could no longer swallow. He was fortunate, they said. There are many sayings that come up through the ranks of Pittsburgh steel mills, coal mines, and nuclear power plants, and become integrated into my family’s coping strategies, often through humor at seemingly inappropriate times or in inappropriate places. My father always says that life is a shit sandwich for everybody, it’s just a matter of how much bread you have. My Grandfather’s death was fortunate compared to his brother. Bob Kramer, aged 36, choked on his own bowel until it caused his death.

“How are you?” I ask my Grandmother on the phone. “I’m fine honey.” A strain in her voice detectable for only a moment as she reports that she is removing red polish from a fingernail in preparation for her manicure later today. I let my Grandmother introduce the topic. Once she mentions the twenty-second anniversary, I tell her that I know. I ask again, “How are you.”

“I was twenty-two when he married me. We were married for forty-two years. And now he’s been dead for twenty-two years.” She continues, “You don’t realize how fast you grow old, honey,” Anna Marie Kramer says. “Have a good time. Live it up.

I had a hard time sleeping last night, honey. I prayed for him for a long while. I relived the kiss. It’s funny, you know, that night, at one point in the middle of the kiss I thought, ok Jim, let me go to sleep now.”

Then she begins talking joyfully about her great-grandchildren’s visit. My cousin Molly brought her two little girls over and my Grandmother could not have been more delighted. She retold the story of the younger one, Anna, asking her why she had wrinkles. Before explaining wrinkles to Anna, my Grandmother said, “Why, I didn’t know that I had wrinkles. Everyone tells me that I don’t have them.” I’m not sure if four-year olds understand sarcasm, but there is truth in her joke. For eighty-six years old, my Grandmother has beautiful, smooth skin with only a few smile lines around her eyes and mouth.

My Grandmother’s salmon colored Cadillac, (don’t you dare refer to the color as peach), was bought sometime after my Grandfather’s death that same year. My cousin’s eight-year-old daughter, Julia, looked at the twenty-two year old Coupe de Ville, put her hands on her hips and said, “Boy, you don’t see cars like this anymore, do you.”

My Grandmother explains that Julia turned down an offer to be in a commercial for Pepperidge Farm Goldfish because “I don’t like to say Pepperidge Grandma.” Not skipping a beat my Grandmother moved on to tell me that she magnifies the picture of Grandpap kissing her at the Elks Club, and thinks of all the nice memories. She honors her husband recalling these days with her platinum blonde hair and his thick hairline. “He was so handsome, you know. I often think had I married that other fella I had gone with in high school, since he had such big ears, I would have had seven dumbos. My children all have pretty ears.” That other “fella” my Grandmother dated until his mother, a German woman, made him break up with my Grandmother because she was Slovak. Luckily, for my existence, Granny Goodwitch, my Grandmother’s German mother-in-law was a bit more liberal on ethnic politics for her time.

Sometime while hearing that Uncle David likes his new job, Molly looked beautiful in a black sundress, my Mom is taking her to get her nails done this afternoon, I start to do the math. “Grandma,” I say. “I’ve been doing the math.” She laughs. I continue, “twenty-two more years.”
“Well, honey, I was thinking twenty more. That way I’ll be widowed the same number of years as I was married.” At eighty-six her math is better than mine. I tell her that I’ll accept one-hundred and twenty-eight instead of one-hundred and thirty. “My children have to know Great Anna Marie, or Granny Annie as some of the great-grandchildren call her.” We agree that she will live until one-hundred and twenty-eight.

Despite my Grandfather working all day as a foreman on commercial insulation jobs and then all night as a train engineer, he always ate dinner with his wife and seven children, afterwhich they prayed the rosary as a family. When my Uncles read this they will all snicker because it is euphemistic of me to say that my sleep-deprived Grandfather, with a crazier than hell Granny Goodwitch for a mother, was not always in the best of moods, but he did instill within my Mom the peace available in prayer.

The kiss that my Grandmother relived last night was the gift and legacy that my Grandfather left us. My Grandmother retells the story: “I got into bed. I realized that I forgot to replace the rosary around his neck. He could no longer speak. After I replaced the rosary, I went upstairs, said my prayers and went to sleep. An hour and fifteen minutes later, Jim walked into my bedroom wearing blue silk pajamas. He looked thirty-five years old. He held my glance. He walked over to me. He bent over me. He kissed me. Really softly. He licked my bottom lip very slowly. I felt his tongue along my bottom lip. It was warm. Then he left.”

A moment later my Mom, the night nurse on duty in the family room with her father, walked up the stairs. As she opened the bedroom door, my Grandmother was already sitting up in bed and said, “I know honey. Daddy came to say goodbye to me.”

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Project Rebirth

After September 11th the media returned quickly to celebrities and the Dow, while director, Jim Whitaker, has been following our nation’s tragedy meticulously through the ten people’s lives changed irrevocably by the collapse of the twin towers. Project Rebirth intimately focuses on the lives of four victims/survivors backdropped by the evolution of the site at ground zero. Over the course of nine years, each person’s private, psychological and emotional grief provides the arc as they and we cope with the aftermath of the attacks. The personal perspectives include: a fireman who lost his entire crew, a construction worker who lost his brother who was a firefighter, a fiancé who lost the love of her life, and a teenage son who lost his mother who was working on the 104th floor. We each have a story from the events of September 11, 2001; Project Rebirth offers each of us the opportunity to process our grief, anger, and hardships through the intimate, honest portrayal of these four lives and losses.

The gorgeous cinematography captures the fireman shifting on his feet in the shadows of the service honoring his best friend. Clearly a body and soul feeling out of place and not worthy of living, these shots make palpable the intense remorse and survival’s guilt that nearly crushes him. Unapologetic footage and interview reels, expose the trials of a survivor and burn victim who undergoes over 40 surgeries in order to partially perform everyday tasks. Just when you think her spirit will never recover, she reasserts control over the medical care of her body, accepts her plight and recognizes the ways in which she was fortunate.

One of the many successes of this documentary in particular is the intense focus on each character’s interview. Prolonged camera pauses captivate the audience. For example, the young man who lost his mother looks intently and lastingly into the camera after recounting his feelings toward Osama Bin Laden. This son chose to walk in his mother’s footsteps by taking a position with his mother’s former employer Lehman Brothers. He walks in his mother’s ghostly shadows to recover a deeper understanding of the woman he lost. Throughout the interview clips it is clear that the interviewees, as much as the viewers, are gaining from the process of documenting their grieving and road to recovery. The young fiancé must escape the city of New York in order to guiltily begin a new life without her beloved, Sergio. She is frank and forthright as is the native New Yorker and construction worker who lost his brother from local #20. He tells us outright that he yelled at his wife and his crew while suffering from severe PTSD resulting from excavating human remains at ground zeros. He worked from the years of relief and rescue to excavation to the building developments for the Freedom Towers.

Project Rebirth is moving, honest and intimate. The journeys of these four beloved survivors help the viewer to progress in their own personal or national mourning process. This story provides the never-before-told story of excavating, reconstructing and raising one’s life; this decade long work provides the heart and soul behind the raising of the Freedom Towers.



Friday, July 23, 2010

Sneaky Like a Puppy

A young maltese puppy’s owner rushed to the car with her luggage, however, uncharacteristically the puppy did not follow her. After the elevator returned to the garage level, the white, fluffy puppy had already stepped onto another floor, some unknown level above its owner crying. Seeing this neighbors began the sixth floor search for Sapporo so that her owner could make her airplane’s departure time. It seems to me that the puppy knows what the suitcase means and does not like spending the weekend at the kennel no matter how posh because the puppy had gotten off the elevator, walked the four part maze to the business office that includes another elevator bank and two fireproof doors and walked straight up to the concierge with her head cocked requesting a play date.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

“Then suddenly electric”: an art review of Sarah Walko’s recent work X-Ray Series and acrylic, collage, ink series

Rarely does an artist capture spirit and intellect, sound and texture, myth and investigation as completely as Sarah Walko. An installation artist, based in New York City, Walko has exhibited work in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Savannah, Pittsburgh, and London.
The pains and joys of life charge and propel us. An electric socket, a book carved into the shape of an ocean wave, and a found book page reading “This is the kind of book—rare in our arid age—which takes root in the heart and grows there for a lifetime” in “X-Ray Series (the contents of our stomachs)(there are two types of electricity, playful static and lightning)(we swallowed them both). 2010.”

Delicately and intricately, “5 Line Staff (fiction of the wide river)” speaks to all levels of human need according Maslow’s hierarchy. A book of matches holds the potential for fulfillment of food, warmth and even love, since a campfire calls for community and conversation. Yet the matches also hold the power to destroy. To ward against such hazards and secure shelter, warmth, and love, “5 Line Staff” shows the intricate urban planning of humans juxtaposed to the community planning also evidenced in nature. The viewer is called to honor the past and continue building toward an enlightened future.

Having the gift of S.Walko’s work in my home affords me the opportunity, in the artist’s own words, to take pause and appreciate the ways in which “One moment is three moments.” Her acrylic, collage, ink on paper paintings, such as “This Land (sails, sailors, begin, how clean the sun)” is but one of the many paintings that inspire the viewer to manifest their dreams. Of the many pieces by contemporary artists in my living room, it is the work of Sarah Walko’s that is by far complimented the most. Many of these admiring guests have purchased their own Sarah Walko piece. Luckily, there are pieces currently on-sale which capture the expansive spirit of Walko’s installation work which have been installed in houses and large scale gallery spaces. Her work captures the essence of the latest in contemporary art being exhibited from Echo Park to SoHo to Shoreditch and beyond.

Work can be purchased at:

Artist website:

Monday, May 24, 2010

Interview with Poet Stephanie Young Editor of Deep Oakland the Mills College Archival Project

Stephanie Young of the Deep Oakland website and archival project responded generously to my questions about archives, community, and the problematics of representing a sense of place. Firstly, the archival quality of Deep Oakland provides viewers with a variety of access points through which to find projects such as from geographic location/neighborhood, name, medium, etc. The detailed attention to archiving allows viewers to appreciate a wide range of photographs, text and chapbooks. A highly successful application of Young’s efforts is the scanning page by page of TAXT chapbooks allowing for the materiality of the text projects emerging from Oakland, CA to be preserved and accessed internationally.

An map of the Oakland is the homepage. The viewer returns again and again to the image of the neighborhoods, and, by rolling their cursor over specific neighborhood’s, projects from each are listed. The viewer enters the site from the visual and physical representation of the geographic factors of the community. According to Young, the goal of the Deep Oakland Mill’s College archival project is to generate dialogue “among groups of folks who enter the site sharing and some overlapping sets of interests.” While she is working to further develop and “facilitate more viewer participation,” Young is excited about the diversity of the poetry texts, “Deep Oakland Literary Objects” which is a recent reading, and Dan Thomas Glass’s project “880.” A reader may go to the Deep Oakland site for a specific poet’s chapbook and then find work from the women’s press collective, for example. This joining of disparate poetry groups also occurred at the recent reading, “Deep Oakland Literary Objects.” The reader’s ranged from Barbara Jane Reyes to Adam Cornford and Young says that “as someone who attends a lot of poetry readings in the bay area…I was enormously excited to see how this Deep Oakland reading operated totally outside of any one given scene. The crowd felt all over the place. I knew a small group of people there but there were many I had never met. Suddenly it felt like there was a conversation across social groups and poetries and scenes.” Young goes on to explain that the readers found common ground in “concerns about place, language,” and the representation of place. Just as the poetry reading gave a physical space for various poetry scenes to interact, converse and overlap, the Deep Oakland website aims to give a space for the art being created in Oakland to be archived and therefore a physical space for the viewer to go to experience the variety of work coming out of Oakland. Dan Thomas Glass’s “880” “physicalizes or performs or unsettles the way we experience place. These images are loaded randomly onto the main photo page and therefore it is highly unlikely that any one viewer will ever view each picture in the same context twice. That is to say that each photo is randomly sorted so that every time you click on an image the photos are rearranged and thus viewer in an alternate context. This speaks to the ways in which Deep Oakland is showing the physical space while also pointing to the constant evolution of place through community intervention.

In my two-part interview with Young, we also touched upon the problematics of representing a sense of place. Just as Glass’s randomized image collisions evidence, the evolution of place can not be simply linked to the neighborhood names. The privileged position of declaring a name of a place terrifies Young and she is in constant conversation with co-editors and interested participants on how to investigate and trouble the site’s use of neighborhood names. One idea may be to use street corners rather than names, or have several names, or the history of a specific locations past, present and potential future names. Another representational problem of which Young is acutely aware is the ways in which it is very easy to fall into a booster mindset. In a conversation with Brad Flis, a poet living in Detroit, they discussed the importance of place being “saved from the stories that get constructed around it.” Young is “interested in work that thinks critically about constructions of place, and investigates oppositional or hidden narratives to those constructions.” Since discussion and representation of place is never neutral, multiple modalities of representations are very useful in achieving the site’s central mission, without over simplifying, or creating a pep rally for Oakland, CA.

Stephanie Young is a talented poet in her own right; she generously shared her talents by engaging each and every one of my questions and answering generously.

Monday, March 29, 2010


Many thanks to Richard Hansen, owner of the bookstore Book Collector in Sacramento, CA, for making the world a better place by publishing enchanting, miniature books. His Poems-for-All series is free for your taking at Book Collector and around Sacramento. Each one and a half by two inch or smaller micro chapbook contains a single poem from Ted Joans, Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, Jack Spicer, Robert Creeley, Ann Menebroker, or hundreds of other poets on the SacFreePress list.

Poetry opens the reader to a microcosmic universe. It is the opportunity, if only for a moment, to access the eternal calm that spiritualists speak of. It is, as Sara M. Larsen writes, to “show me the room/ with sliding doors/ i am a child.”

“Writing Poems is a Saintly Thing” says Peter Orlovsky “to welcome me/ into your early rise of bacon and / rolls.” Poetry helps people to share in delights, relief, and a sense of humanity. “What good is my room if/ it can’t hold all the people in the world and / chairs lonely because built for only one?” Poetry is the room that allows us to embrace contradiction. Merleau-Ponty tells us we only see these as contradictions and paradoxes because of the blind spots in our perception.

Recently a friend, or to be more honest, a guy looking to set up a third date with me, wrote a list of things he likes about me. He writes, “this whole poetry thing is awesome. It gives you the opportunity to save people like myself from Heidegger's 'everyday world' and to balance out the powers of the 'they.'”

Thank you Richard for helping to save people from the everyday drone that threatens to numb our thinking and block us from moments of calm.

It is of no surprise that Book Collector receives a five star rating on yelp. http://www.sacfreepress.com/poems/blog/2006/05/book-collector.html

And to check out images of these enchanting gifts go to Poems-for-All:

Monday, February 22, 2010

On Sun, Feb 21, 2010 at 7:44 AM, Sarah Walko wrote:
This is the point where the person actually crosses into the field of adventure, leaving the known limits of his or her world and venturing into an unknown and dangerous realm where the rules and limits are not known.

With the personifications of his destiny to guide and aid him, the hero goes forward in his adventure until he comes to the 'threshold guardian' at the entrance to the zone of magnified power. Such custodians bound the world in four directions – also up and down – standing for the limits of the hero's present sphere, or life horizon. Beyond them is darkness, the unknown and danger; just as beyond the parental watch is danger to the infant and beyond the protection of his society danger to the members of the tribe. The usual person is more than content, he is even proud, to remain within the indicated bounds, and popular belief gives him every reason to fear so much as the first step into the unexplored. The adventure is always and everywhere a passage beyond the veil of the known into the unknown; the powers that watch at the boundary are dangerous; to deal with them is risky; yet for anyone with competence and courage the danger fades

- j. campbell

Friday, February 19, 2010

"...she is catalogue busty Oriental or steamy Latina. The girl next door is waiting for you to shoot your load"

“Young Americans birth gang rape over card games,” Barbara Jane Reyes calls out in her chapbook titled, Cherry, published by Portable Press @ Yo Yo Labs. In her opening poem, “Cherry,” Reyes masterfully evokes the ambiguous space of sexual pleasure within sexual violence. “[T]ears tender,” “ingests,” “pump fire,” and “invites entrance tinseled hostess” is experienced amidst the “liquored push,” “he advances inserts into girl,” “unripe cherry bleed/blow her rupture.” This collection is an absolute must read for those interested in gender and ethnic studies and for those wanting to better understand people in their life who have visceral, seemingly extreme reactions to the objectification of women in the mass media.

Ethnic prejudice and sexual violence, specifically against Filipinas, accumulates in Reyes use of a documentary poetics in the poem “E-Dialogue Over Bitter Chocolate.” News quotes discuss the colonization of the Philippines in relationship to contemporary consumerism: Wired News reports that the Spanish division of Nabisco defends the naming of their chocolate-covered cookie, “Filipinos.” A ten-year old male child to his Filipina nursemaid says, “Hey Cookie, I’m eating you!” After which follows statistics from the Centre for Philippine Concerns-Australia, on murders suspected or perpetrated by “the woman’s employer, husband, de-facto partner, ex-partner, or fiancé.” These images and news reports culminate in the poem’s final two stanzas. The reading experience is far too rewarding to ruin: you’ll have to see for yourself.

No aspect of sexualized ethnic abuse goes unexamined in Reyes inventive, fresh work. Every twist and turn in the poems' subjects provides a new way of seeing. Hope is given to the reader in the strength that we hear in the poet’s voice even when the speaker’s experiences, and by extension the readers’ experiences at times, “[become] tears in the wound, liquid, nude-come-shots, and singing, as we.” (Reyes, Cherry, “Selvedge”)

Cherry by Barbara Jane Reyes, published in 2008 by Portable Press @ Yo Yo Labs, Brooklyn, NY, is available for $7.00 at: http://tinyurl.com/yhg6ud2

Saturday, February 13, 2010

“Mémoire” by Pierre Reverdy

Memoire is in the French feminine, memory, and in the masculine, memoir and in Reverdy’s poem, the shared experience of two strangers lost in their distinct thoughts and memories. Though this is an isolated state, all humans by virtue of sharing this experience are united in the act. Joined in “un monde plein d’espoir,” a world full of prospect—the potential and constant moment of becoming.
First the speaker is lost in thought with no recognition of what has happened around his body in the tangible world. “Scarcely a minute/And I’ve come back/ Having grasped nothing of all that passed.” We say that we have zoned or spaced out into the “larger sky.” In the last moments of being removed from the physical world, in the mental zone, there always is “The lantern going by/ The footstep overheard” that pulls us out of our mind and back into the material space that we inhabit. The entire world, in the setting of the poem, the zoo, is “in motion” but “someone comes to a stop/ They let go of the world/ And everything in it.” By letting go of the material constraints of our body in the physical world “There’s more space.”
In the open field of thought, imagination and memory we are rewriting our self-narrated autobiography. And as a community of humans, space is one of our largest concerns both personally and politically. Ownership of intellectual property and real estate and personal space and one’s own story is at play in the constant rewriting of history. In the realm of unlimited immaterial space, division of thinking does not prevent the shared human behavior from achieving communion. Each is not alone in the condition of being human that tends toward daydreaming or day-worrying. “All three of us were strangers/ And formed already” finding the potential self and community.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Face Forward

You find each of your thoughts so precious
that you follow their train
boxcar after boxcar linked by the hitch
rickety tracks, fear you follow to the train’s caboose

Clinging to each anxiety
you crawl carefully into a body sized
cargo box, drag a trowel across its walls,
awaken to a pattern cemented by your hand
systematically patting the hardened block

to tell yourself there is nothing beyond
In the arresting motion,
you missed a crack
emitting white light

Friday, January 15, 2010

“You don’t fail once/ you keep failing.” (Heather Christle, “Our Sense of Achievement”)

The poems by Heather Christle featured in Octopus Magazine number twelve “invite us…to join their endless adventures” (Lisa Olstein). “Half-Hedgehog Half-Man” begins with “talk to me” which immediately engages the speaker, and reader, in a conversation with a tree. Just as the reader acclimates to speaking to a tree it becomes clear that the “I” is half-hedgehog half-man. Christle’s poetry attempts to locate, articulate, and represent the speaker just before the subject position shifts and the speaker is seen anew. There is a familiar strangeness in the act of this searching for the “I” and finding the “I” only to have the “I” shift again. Haven’t we all questioned who we are, what effect and affect we have had, if any, and where we are from? In “Plot the Height and Distance” the speaker shakes a tree only to find that once fallen out of the tree “it was not me [the speaker] making things happen” as the tree shakes without the speaker. The familiarity felt in Christle’s poetry is of the cycle of searching, finding and falling back, yet again, into dislocation, misunderstanding or a new way of seeing. Christle expresses more precisely this condition of being: her poetry driving directly into a revelation about human subjectivity.

Heather Christle's poetry is published online in Octopus Magazine number twelve:

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Poor Carry the Burden of War
by Jennifer Styperk

Du Fu: A Life in Poetry
translated by David Young
Knopf: 226 pages, $16.95

On election day, a poetic commentary on the problems of “modernity”, bureaucratic corruption, war, middle-class drudgery, and the plight of the poor, was published as quietly as the poet himself had lived. In his work, Du Fu reveals, among many injustices, that the poor carry the burden of the wars of ruling classes— a violence that devastates not only the soldiers and their wives but corrodes all families in the society.
This warning comes to us from the 8th Century A.D. during the corrupt Tang Dynasty in China. Repeatedly Du Fu writes that his heart is heavy as he contemplates the impossibility of a poor individual to develop in the context of their relationship to a ruling class that abuses its power. A meritocracy, generated from the philosophy of Confucianism, opened civil service to anyone who could pass the imperial exam as opposed to limiting positions exclusively to the aristocracy. Du Fu’s father benefited from the new scholarly-gentry class, however, Du Fu witnessed the favoritism and nepotism rampant just two dynasties after its inception. Later in his life, Du Fu directly calls out the ruling class for ignoring the highest ethos of Confucianism which is best translated to say, “do not do unto others what you would not want done unto you.”
Du Fu, a Confuscianist, integrates Daoist and Buddhist philosophies, which were recently brought to China from India through trading along the Silk Road. The 8th Century Chinese, inventors of gunpowder and the first printing press, also bring us the first lyric poet. Of most importance to classical Chinese literary criticism is a comprehensive and accurate understanding of the author’s historical context and biography. Young, a Professor of Emeritus at Oberlin College, presents the Western reader with the best opportunity to understand Du Fu’s work and life by arranging the poems chronologically, beginning each of the 11 sections with concise records of Du Fu’s life and time and including footnotes at the close of each poem.
In what is likely the first lyric poem ever written, “Five Hundred Words about my Journey to Fengxian,” Du Fu directly expresses personal grief over the loss of his son and insurmountable anguish over social injustices. After shaming himself for not being able to feed his family and blaming himself for his son’s death, he notes that he has never had to pay taxes or be conscripted to fight in the An Lushan Rebellion. He continues:
I realize I’ve had an easy life
and I think again of the poor

losing their farms, sons sent to war
no end to their grief’s

till my sorrow becomes a mountain
whose peak I cannot see (66).

Du Fu consistently laments the plight of the poor throughout his life. He weeps for the old woman who steals dates from his tree because she has been “skinned to the bone” by the taxes to pay for the wars (197). The poor lose their “help with plowing/ all their boys have been conscripted” (87). Elder to younger brother duties are nearly impossible to uphold with communication broken down by war and “the letters we [Du Fu and his brother’s] send each other/ never seem to arrive” (101). And while the poor are hardest hit by war, all of society suffers because “all of us know these times/whirl families in all directions” (85).
Long before Baudelaire aestheticized objects, Du Fu writes about hatpins and washboards (73, 109). Writing in the voice of a woman, an uncommon approach employed by his predecessor Li Bai, Da Fu emphasizes the hardships of domestic duties, especially during war times, in which “a woman uses all her strength/ beating the laundry with a club” to send the soldier’s winter clothes to where he is stationed. “Soon you’ll feel the cold,” the female speaker says, “the way I feel our separation” (109).
Young’s translation, while attending to historical accuracy, also provides echoes of the rhyming couplets, syntactical parallelism and contrasting content in the second and third stanzas that set Du Fu apart from other classical Chinese poets. Though the capacity for rhyme is vastly larger in Chinese than in English, Young skillfully employs assonance, consonance, slant and implied rhyme to evoke the chanting music of the lushi, the form that Du Fu mastered.
Not just for poets and historians, but for history buffs, feminists, World Civilizations students and all those wishing to be ethical, compassionate citizens, David Young’s definitive collection historically contextualizes the work of a man who describes himself as “a lone gull/ somewhere between earth and sky” (213).