By Ching-ln Chen (Arktoi Press)
Jose Garcia Villa
Mouth Lisa Chen (Kaya)
Eloquent and erudite, Lisa Chen's collection of poetry and prose startled me with its blend of vivid imagery and weird absurdity. Ranging from disparate topics such as Chinese ghost stories to the geography of rooms and self-storage spaces, the poems in Mouth re-imagine a legacy of historical and cultural absence.
Cathy Hong Park
At first you may balk at Cathy Park Hong's second collection of poetry, written in a made-up language called Desert Creole (an amalgam of pidgin English, Spanish, Latin and Korean), but you'll soon fall under her mesmerizing cadences. What unfolds is the intriguing life journey that has led a young Korean revolutionary, from both the Kwangju uprising and the Dance Dance Revolution, to her current role as hotel tour guide in a city called the Desert.