In the bold tradition of the Misty Poets, Ha Jin confronts Chinas fraught political history while paying tribute to its rich culture and landscape. The poems of A Distant Center speak in a voice that is steady and direct, balancing contemplative longing with sober warnings from a writer who has confronted the traumas of censorship and state violence. With unadorned language and epigrammatic wit, Jin conjures scenes that encompass the personal, historical, romantic, and environmental, interrogating conceptions of foreignness and national identity as they appear and seep into everyday interactions and being. These are poems that offer solace in times of political reaction and uncertainty. Jins voice is wise, comforting, and imploring; his words are necessary and his lessons are invaluable. Question your place in the worlddo not be complacentlook for strength and hope in every nook: Keep in mind the meaning of / your existence: wherever you land, / your footprints will become milestones....
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A Distant Center Reviews
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Ha Jin moved to the United States from China in 1985, and wrote these poems in English, but they do feel like they are of more than one place, or maybe sometimes no place (in a way I really liked.) Some are motivational, like some of my favorites from Mary Oliver, where the poet is speaking directly to the reader, reminding them to have space and acceptance. They might be good as part of a mindfulness practice, whether or not that was how they were intended.
-The Long-Distance TraveHa Jin moved to the United States from China in 1985, and wrote these poems in English, but they do feel like they are of more than one place, or maybe sometimes no place (in a way I really liked.) Some are motivational, like some of my favorites from Mary Oliver, where the poet is speaking directly to the reader, reminding them to have space and acceptance. They might be good as part of a mindfulness practice, whether or not that was how they were intended.
-The Long-Distance Traveler
"Keep going: the farther you go,
the smaller you grow
in the eyes of those
who can't walk anymore...."
"...Keep in mind your talent also includes patience and endurance.
Get up, move quietly, and leave all the clamor behind."
"...You must learn to be content
to inhabit your own space -
news from far away
can no longer disturb you..."
Thanks to Copper Canyon Press for providing access to this title through Edelweiss. It comes out 24 April 2018....more
A nice collection of creative and challenging poems.