- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
Ray OlsonThe four parts of Ms. Kim's impressive first collection contain poems of family, history, love, and vision, respectively. The first part is punch-in-the-guts powerful. After opening with the virtuosic "Generation," tracing the poet's journey from before conception to implantation in the womb, the poems lay out a painful familial scenario, the soul-searing climax of which comes in "ST RAGE," in which sadistic boys torment the poet's handicapped brother. Anguish also pervades the second section's preoccupation with the half-century of horror Ms. Kim's ancestral homeland, Korea, endured, first under Japanese occupation, then in the Korean War; members of Ms. Kim's family played historic roles then, and they figure as actors and dedicatees here. The third section's poems on love are analytic, personal, and sensual, though seldom all at once; whereas pain predominated in the first two sections, emotional intensity preoccupies these poems. In the last section, Ms. Kim applies that intensity to observation of art and nature, so strikingly that, for instance, having read "On Sparrows," you may never regard those common birds as commonplace again.