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The Book of Motion

Overview


This debut collection explores memory, cities, motion. Tung-Hui Hu's tone has some of the swampy wit that recalls Calvino or Michaux: A man swaps bodies with his lover; a mapmaker holds captive a city, which needs his crystal telescope to navigate through streets "unreadable as palm lines"; a car pushed off a cliff in a fit of anger becomes home for a school of fish. Anchored by the sequence "Elegies for self," Hu's poetry brings a quiet sophistication to syntax, diction, and ...
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Overview


This debut collection explores memory, cities, motion. Tung-Hui Hu's tone has some of the swampy wit that recalls Calvino or Michaux: A man swaps bodies with his lover; a mapmaker holds captive a city, which needs his crystal telescope to navigate through streets "unreadable as palm lines"; a car pushed off a cliff in a fit of anger becomes home for a school of fish. Anchored by the sequence "Elegies for self," Hu's poetry brings a quiet sophistication to syntax, diction, and form.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Distillate, metamorphic, these elegant poems by Tung-Hui Hu work magic on the page. In an age, too often, of surfeit and stall, they chart the deft alignments of silence and sublimity, minimal brush stroke and maximal wit, the deadpan ad-lib and the swerve of philosophic penetration. The Book of Motion is above all motion of mind: a joyous—and joy-engendering—debut."--Linda Gregerson, winner of the 2003 Kingsley Tufts Award

"A splendidly elegant work of poetry and prose."--Clarence Brown, Trenton Times

"To read Tung-Hui Hu is to feel in the presence of a fresh, new voice. He's read his Tate and his Simic, absorbed their intelligent strangeness and humor, then with great brio and precision has discovered how to go his own way. The Book of Motion is an exciting debut."--Stephen Dunn, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Different Hours

"The Book of Motion has a contained surreal style that deftly shapes a philosophical argument that somehow remains pure lyric."--Los Angeles Times

"Tung-Hui Hu's extraordinary The Book of Motion stuns by degrees. Here all is precarious, nothing is safe; yet awe and delight have not been banished. These poems earthquake the expected, creating a psychic and linguistic landscape that unsettles, jolts, and sears. A radio report is 'derailed by a news flash,' real estate agents stand 'armed with walkie-talkies barking at / half-finished meadows.' In a chess player's mind a waitress turns 'with slender legs into a heron.' Hallucinatory yet precisely anchored in the quotidian, these are deeply memorable poems."--Laurie Sheck, author of Black Series

"Perplexity and wonder are integral parts of Tung-Hui Hu’s poetry, which is as elegant as it is surprising. . . . This aggregate of conflicting imagery is characteristic of the work throughout, which is haunting and mysterious, yet inexplicably vivid and tangible. . . . [An] intriguing debut collection."--Mark Tursi, Rain Taxi

Publishers Weekly
A winner of the Avery Hopwood Award, The Book of Motion by UC Berkeley doctoral candidate in architecture Tung-Hui Hu offers nearly 30 lyrics (on everything from "Vigilance" to "Pseudoephedrine") and a set of 12 prose "Elegies for Self": "Most people ignored me or indulged me until I bought their vacant, bone-rimmed cups of coffee." Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780820325682
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press
  • Publication date: 10/27/2003
  • Series: The Contemporary Poetry Series
  • Pages: 64
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author


Tung-Hui Hu, a doctoral student in architecture at the University of California, Berkeley, also has an M.F.A. from the University of Michigan. The Book of Motion, in addition to being chosen for the Contemporary Poetry Series, won an Avery Hopwood Award. Hu's current projects include translations of the German writer Paul Scheerbart.
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Table of Contents

Some Arrivals 1
A rock a fish 3
The chess match 4
The siege 5
Story told to yourself 6
Poem in memory of a house 7
Vigilance 9
The tree of conscience 10
Maximum occupancy 38 persons 11
Love poem to Moira 12
Migrations at night 13
Early morning in Denver 15
Red wine: An advertisement 16
Welcome back 17
Some arrivals 18
Elegies for self 19
Fast Lives 33
Hill climbing 35
Overreactions & other professions of faith 36
Fragile 37
Impossible luxuries 38
Pseudoephedrine 39
Growing up 40
Fast lives 41
Killing flies 42
The oracle grants a rare interview 43
Dry 44
You were born to live on an island 45
The shore 46
Snow over the cornfields 47
The mapmaker 48
What happens next 49
Notes 51
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