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A Portrait of the Self as Nation: New and Selected Poems

A Portrait of the Self as Nation: New and Selected Poems

by Marilyn Chin


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A rich, illuminating compilation of selected and new poems from Marilyn Chin, "a poet of contradictions, poignant sentiment, beat-your-ass toughness, and unexpected humor" (Los Angeles Review of Books).

Spanning thirty years of dazzling work—from luminous early love lyrics to often-anthologized Asian American identity anthems, from political and subversive hybrid forms to feminist manifestos—A Portrait of the Self as Nation is a selection from one of America’s most original and vital voices. Marilyn Chin’s passionate, polyphonic poetry travels freely from the personal to the mythic, from the political to the spiritual. Deeply engaged with the complexities of cultural assimilation, feminism, and the Asian American experience, she spins precise, beautiful metaphors as she illuminates hard-hitting truths.

A Portrait of the Self as Nation celebrates Chin’s innovative activist poetry: her fearless and often confrontational early collections, Dwarf Bamboo and The Phoenix Gone, the Terrace Empty; the rebellious, vivid language of Rhapsody in Plain Yellow; and the erotic elegies of Hard Love Province. Also included are excerpts from Chin’s daring novel, Revenge of the Mooncake Vixen, and a vibrant chapter of new poems and translations.

In poems that are direct and passionately charged, Marilyn Chin raises her voice against systems of oppression even as her language shines with devastating power and beauty. Image after image, line by line, Chin’s masterfully reinvented quatrains, sonnets, allegories, and elegies are unforgettable.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393652178
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 10/16/2018
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 1,146,935
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Marilyn Chin was born in Hong Kong. She is the author of four previous poetry collections and a novel. She is the winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, the PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Literary Award, and a Radcliffe Institute fellowship, among other honors. Presently, she serves as a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and lives in San Diego.

Table of Contents

Preface xiii

Acknowledgments xv

From Dwarf Bamboo (1987) 1

The End of a Beginning 3

We Are a Young Nation, Uncle 4

Untrimmed Mourning 5

The Cricket 6

After My Last Paycheck from the Factory … 7

We Are Americans Now, We Live in the Tundra 9

A Chinaman's Chance 11

First Lessons 13

Ode to Anger 15

Repulse Bay 17

Two Poems for Mieko

Unrequited Love 19

Love Poem from Nagasaki 20

From The Phoenix Gone, the Terrace Empty (1994) 21

Altar 23

The Barbarians Are Coming 24

How I Got That Name 25

A Break in the Rain 29

Tiananmen, the Aftermath 31

Gruel 32

Barbarian Suite 33

The Phoenix Gone, the Terrace Empty 35

Moon and Oatgrass 42

His Parents' Baggage 44

The Survivor 45

Alba 46

Composed Near the Bay Bridge 47

Summer Love 48

Turtle Soup 49

A Portrait of the Self as Nation 50

Song of the Sad Guitar 56

Beijing Spring 58

Autumn Leaves 59

The Floral Apron 60

From Rhapsody in Plain Yellow (2002) 61

That Half Is Almost Gone 63

The Colonial Language Is English 65

Blues on Yellow 66

Chinese Quatrains (the Woman in Tomb 44) 67

Take a Left at the Waters of Samsara 69

Millennium, Six Songs 71

Cauldron 74

Variations on an Ancient Theme: The Drunken Husband 77

Bold Beauty 79

The True Story of Mortar and Pestle 80

The True Story of Mr. and Mrs. Wong 81

Tonight While the Stars Are Shimmering 82

So, You Fucked John Donne 84

Get Rid of the X 85

Identity Poem (#99) 86

To Pursue the Limitless 88

Horse Horse Hyphen Hyphen 90

Hospital Interlude 93

Hospital in Oregon 94

Rhapsody in Plain Yellow 95

From Hard Love Province (2014) 101

Alba: Moon Camellia Lover 103

Formosan Elegy 105

Twenty-Five Haiku 107

Black President 110

One Child Has Brown Eyes 111

Study Hall, Deterritorialized 112

Sonnetnese 113

Summer Sleep 114

Nocturnes 115

Every Woman Is Her Own Chimera 118

Brown Girl Manifesto Too 122

Beautiful Boyfriend 123

Quiet the Dog, Tether the Pony 126

Four Buddhist Tales from Revenge of the Mooncake Vixen (2009) 127

After Enlightenment, There Is Yam Gruel 129

Why Men Are Dogs 130

The Theory of the One Hand 131

Lantau 133

Selected Translations 135

Snow Falls on China's Land by Ai Qing 137

From Untitled Epigrams (for Our Youth) Ai Qing 140

A,D,R,E,N,A,L,I,N Gozo Yoshimasu 143

Five Poems Ho Xuan Huong 150

Poetry Camp, A New Prose Poem Sequence (2015) 153

Poetry Camp 155

Thanksgiving at the Brewsters 156

Dead Buddha 157

First Duck 158

Dogdom 160

Indigestion 161

Dao, New Poems 163

Dao 165

Chaos Had No Eyes 166

Scary Poem 167

Immigrant Dream: Eat Crow 168

Little Box Opens Up 169

Bamboo, the Dance 172

For Mitsuye Yamada on Her 90th Birthday 173

Postscript: Brown Girl Manifesto, One of Many 177

Peony Apocalypse 180

Notes 181

Index 189

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