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Engine Empire: Poems Hardcover – May 7, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-0393082845 ISBN-10: 0393082849 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (May 7, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393082849
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393082845
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,119,401 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Bookforum

The book manages to be an entertaining read, even as it says stark and haunting things about race, love, technology, and the capacities of language to hide or reveal unwelcome truths . . . While there have always been lots of writers warning us about the corruptibility of language in the wrong hands, few others have made an unbrave new world such a pleasure to discover.—Craig Morgan Teicher

Review

“Cathy Park Hong is a seer of visions. Engine Empire is a brainy, glinting triptych about what powers 'progress,' what its human costs are, and where it might be taking our species. Novelistic, meditative, offbeat, and soulful, Hong’s poetry is many fathoms deep.” (David Mitchell)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I like Hong's two previous books very much. This one I like the best, and I think she's coming into her own as an inventive poet. David Mitchell is one of my favorite novelists. I note he has a blurb on the back of Hong's book calling Engine Empire a "brainy, glinting triptych" on progress. Hong's poems seem like lyrical fragments to me with variations on engine (machines, trains, minds like search engines, a power source, etc.) Like many of the Pre-Socratic fragments which survive--visionary, scary, naively empirical or historical in strange unembodied voices. I thought of Huckleberry Finn while reading the first part, which includes "Our Jim" cavorting in the Old West; the second part invents a "boomtown" Chinese city perhaps on the frontier evoking the current Kunming on the Chinese "frontier" for me. Finally the end of the trilogy seems be Philip Dick Sci-Fi, or perhaps a "Kubla Khan" vision of the future. Hong, like Mitchell, blurs politics, self, culture, and any boundaries that might have existed between them. She also very funny using slang and vernacular (her trademark perhaps). I also note she continues to subvert "Orientalism" (like David Mitchell) which fascinates me, since I myself am an Asiaphile. Usually thought to be patronizing in its fabrication, she takes the concept and really runs with it in her poems. She uses a Chinese forger of Rembrandts to pound that theme. A great little book, I keep rereading over and over again like listening to a new album.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Spare and supple, these poems trace out the frontier ethos through the old West, China & the future. Their variation holds interest and reforms our notions of what our lawless states could and have and are doing to us now.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you thought "Dance Dance Revolution" took you on a journey, hold on to your seats. This collection of poetry goes from boomtown to boomtown through past, present, and future holding up the pursuit of advancement up to the lens of the loneliness of humanity. The poems that result are hauntingly beautiful in their longing. Truly, the poems have Shangdu cannot go unread by lovers of good poetry or humans with a heart.
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