Thursday, January 1, 2009

Lisa Chen's MOUTH

MOUTH, Lisa Chen’s debut collection of poetry, gives voice to things that occur below the level of hearing or just beyond our notice: fragments of translated stories, unanswered bits of conversations, the mute assertiveness of a room. In language filled with humor, insight, and hallucinatory wit, Chen uses fables, instructions, poems carved in the loneliness of Angel Island barracks, medical reports, classified ads and reality shows to reach out to “a visitor from the country of you/where I didn’t speak the language.” These are poems to delight in and roll around on your tongue. They are at once a record of and a song for the discarded, overlooked, and unheeded speech that takes place in between the words we manage to speak but that rarely say what we want.
“This book is wild, playful, gorgeous, weird, often hip. Reading it, I kept thinking, I wish I had come up with this phrase, this line, that entire poem, and that one, and that one, and that one...”
— Linh Dinh, author of Jam Alerts
Lisa Chen was born in Taipei, Taiwan. She earned a BA from the University of California, Berkeley, and an MFA from the University of Iowa. Her work has been published in Hanging Loose, ZZYZVA, Prairie Schooner, and Threepenny Review. She lives in New York and works as a media and communications consultant for progressive organizations and campaigns.

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