Dance Dance Revolution: Poems

Overview

"The mixture of imagination, language, and historical consciousness in this book is marvelous."?Adrienne Rich, Barnard Women Poets Prize citation
"The Guide" is a former South Korean dissident and tour guide who speaks a fluid fabricated language; "the Historian" interviews the Guide and annotates the commentaries. Cathy Park Hong's passionate and artful poem sequence weaves an ultimately revitalizing dialogue on shared experience in a globalized world, using language as subversion and disguise.

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Overview

"The mixture of imagination, language, and historical consciousness in this book is marvelous."—Adrienne Rich, Barnard Women Poets Prize citation
"The Guide" is a former South Korean dissident and tour guide who speaks a fluid fabricated language; "the Historian" interviews the Guide and annotates the commentaries. Cathy Park Hong's passionate and artful poem sequence weaves an ultimately revitalizing dialogue on shared experience in a globalized world, using language as subversion and disguise.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

This deeply political Barnard Women Poets Prize-winning second book is part poetic sequence, part science fiction: in a future city called the Desert-a Vegas-like manmade tourist trap-a character called the Guide shows another, the Historian, the sights. The Guide has survived the historical Kwangju uprising, a 1980 massacre of students and other prodemocracy protesters by the American-backed South Korean dictatorship. The Guide's speeches-all in verse-turn repeatedly to her own life story, detailed in a superbly invented dialect, based on English but incorporating Spanish and Jamaican patois: "I'mma double migrant," the Guide says. "Ceded from Koryo [Korea], "ceded from/ Merikka." The "Dance Dance Revolution" the Guide has seen-described, vaguely, late (perhaps too late) in the book, and named for, but supposedly unrelated to, the popular video game-thus becomes "Kwangju Replayed," another failed attempt to destroy an undemocratic capitalist system. The Historian's own reflective autobiography, presented in a terse, melodic prose, brings in other examples of global horrors (Sierra Leonean amputees) as it mirrors a reader's own unease. Hong's earlier treatment of Korean-American themes in Translating Mo'umattracted some attention, but nothing could have predicted this admittedly flawed but highly original work: hard to excerpt, hard at times to decode, it's even harder to forget. (May)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393064841
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/7/2007
  • Pages: 128
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Cathy Park Hong is the author of Translating Mo’um and Dance Dance Revolution and has won a Pushcart Prize and the Barnard Women Poets Prize. She lives in New York and teaches at Sarah Lawrence College.

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Table of Contents


Chronology of the Desert Guide     17
Foreword     19
Strolling Through the Hotel
Roles     25
St. Petersburg Hotel Series     27
Services     27
Preparation for Winter in the St. Petersburg Arboretum     29
The Fountain Outside the Arboretum     30
The Washrooms of St. Petersburg     31
Atop the St. Petersburg Dome     33
Karaoke Lounge     35
Excerpt from the Historian's Memoir     37
Stirrings of Childhood That Begin with
Song that Breaks the World Record     41
The Lineage of Yes-Men     43
The Importance of Being English     45
Excerpt from the Historian's Memoir     47
Education During the Year of Falling Hair
Early Influence     51
Cholla Village of No     53
Windowless House     56
Excerpt from the Historian's Memoir     58
Visions of Pamphlet Gods
Seizure     61
Tide Pool     63
Reunion     64
University Years     66
Excerpt from the Historian's Memoir     68
Intermission: Portrait of the Desert
Elegy     71
Almanac     72
Almanac     74
Almanac     76
Almanac     78
New Town     80
Excerpt from the Historian's Memoir     83
Resuming the Desert Tour: Toward the Outskirts, Toward the Bridge
Basement of the St. Petersburg Hotel     87
Music of the Streets Series     88
Hagglers in the Bazaar     88
The Hula Hooper's Taunt     89
The Auctioneer's Woo     90
Dance Hall Song for When You're in the Mood     91
Toasts in the Grove of Proposals     92
O Light, Red Light     93
Once the Factory, No Longer the Factory     95
The Guardsman's Warning     97
The Bridge     98
Excerpt from the Historian's Memoir     100
Kwangju
Elegy     103
The Voice     104
Kwangju Replayed     108
Years in the Ginseng Colony     111
Dance Dance
Elegy     115
Orphic Day     117
The Refinery of Voices and Vices     118
Excerpt from the Historian's Memoir     120
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