Rhapsody in Plain Yellow: Poems

Overview

A fusion of east and west, high culture, popular culture, and ancient Chinese history mark this distinguished collection.
Marilyn Chin, with her multilayered, multidimensional, intercultural singing, elegizes the loss of her mother and maternal grandmother and tries to unravel the complexities of her family's past. She tells of the trials of immigration, of exile, of thwarted interracial love, and of social injustice. Some poems recall the Confucian "Book of Songs," while others...

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Overview

A fusion of east and west, high culture, popular culture, and ancient Chinese history mark this distinguished collection.
Marilyn Chin, with her multilayered, multidimensional, intercultural singing, elegizes the loss of her mother and maternal grandmother and tries to unravel the complexities of her family's past. She tells of the trials of immigration, of exile, of thwarted interracial love, and of social injustice. Some poems recall the Confucian "Book of Songs," while others echo the African American blues tradition and Western railroad ballads. The title poem references the Han Dynasty rhapsody but is also a wild, associative tour de force. Political allegories sing out with personal revelations. Personal revelations open up to a universal cry for compassion and healing. These songs emerge as a powerful and elegant collection: sophisticated yet moving, hard-hitting yet refined.

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Editorial Reviews

Nhien Nguyen - International Examiner
“Chin's creativity as a poet is undeniable, as she physically shapes poems into images and breaks traditional forms.”
Donna Seaman - Booklist
“Impeccable form holds seething emotion as Chin...looks from East to West and back again.”
John Gery - New Orleans Times Picayune
“These are poems of burgeoning praise and heartfelt vision for the new century.”
Carol Muske-Dukes - Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Chin's dazzling longing creates a past that becomes essential to our understanding of her elliptical and passionately insistent poetic statement.”
Adrienne Rich
“Marilyn Chin's new poems are unmistakable evidence of the universal reach of the particular—when the art is powerful, uncompromised, and unerring as hers.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393324532
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/19/2003
  • Pages: 110
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Marilyn Chin was born in Hong Kong. She is the author of three previous poetry collections and a novel. Her work has appeared in The Norton Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, The Norton Anthology of Literature by Women, and Best American Poetry, among other publications. The winner of the PEN/Josephine Miles Literary Award, five Pushcart Prizes, fellowships from the United States Artists Foundation and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, among other honors, she lives in San Diego.

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Table of Contents

Blues on Yellow 13
That Half Is Almost Gone 17
The Colonial Language Is English 20
Take a Left at the Waters of Samsara 22
Chinese Quatrains (The Woman in Tomb 44) 24
Emilies: Aria for My Mother 27
Millennium, Six Songs 30
Cauldron 34
Broken Chord Sequence 39
Altar (#3) 39
Hospital Interlude 40
Hospital in Oregon 41
Song of the Giant Calabash 42
Hong Kong Fathersong 44
Get Rid of the X 45
How Deep Is the River of God? 46
I Am Waiting 47
Libations, Song 10 48
Variations on an Ancient Theme: The Drunken Husband 49
Bold Beauty 52
The True Story of Mortar and Pestle 53
The True Story of Mr. and Mrs. Wong 55
The Cock's Wife 56
Where We Live Now (Vol. 3, #4) 57
Blues on Yellow (#2) 67
Horse Horse Hyphen Hyphen 69
Tonight while the Stars Are Shimmering 72
Bad Date Polytich, Eight Poems 75
Bad Date 75
Family Restaurant (#1) 76
Family Restaurant (#2) 77
Empathy 78
Blues on Yellow (#3) 79
Folk Song Revisited 80
Ohio/Ohio 81
So, You Fucked John Donne 82
Identity Poem (#99) 83
To Pursue the Limitless 85
Summer Sonatina 88
Horseyear 92
Rhapsody in Plain Yellow 96
Notes 105
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2002

    What a POET!!!!!

    I am very grateful to personally have Marilyn Chin come to my college, Simmons College that is, and recite her beautifully written poems! I am still speechless with the ways she presents herself and her poems. She took my breath away and replaced it with such awe and great laughter!!! All are very intriguing and touching to the bones! I am still not over the ways she expresses her words. I recommend everyone to read her poems from her book Rhapsody in Plain Yellow, and see for yourself what I'm trying to say.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2008

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