From Publishers Weekly
The latest Yale Younger Poet writes about his Chinese-American heritage; he draws on classic Chinese poets, such as Wang Wei and Li Yu. Yet his verse and prose stand at the farthest possible remove from the memoirlike poems, and the poems of first-person identity, that have characterized so much recent verse about U.S. immigrant life. Instead, Chen is experimental in the best and broadest sense of the term: each new page brings an experiment in self-presentation, in sentence, syntax, or (long) line. Prose poems digress into semantic analysis (Love Is Like Tautology in the Same Way Like Is Like Tautology); open-field verse resembles now an alienated, impersonal short story, now a page from an anguished diary: He studies the ceiling for hours before he sleeps—for the ceiling is ours./ He wore the bedroom ceiling as his eyelid. Self-consciousness (about travel, about voice) does not take him away from his sense of himself: rather, it becomes him, as when he begins: The first sentence of this poem is not about you./ In this respect, it is unlike the last sentence and my heart. Chen's parents appear as characters in the anti-novel, anti-memoir, first-person sequence. The New York-based Chen—who runs the Asian American Writers' Workshop—deserves attention for his daring invention, for the heretofore unknown hybrids throughout his work. (Apr.)
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"Juvenilia is a wonderful debut, simultaneously devastating and beautiful."
--Rigoberto Gonzalez, The Poetry Foundation
"Chen is 'experimental' in the best and broadest sense of the term: each new page brings an experiment in self-presentation... [Chen] deserves attention for his daring invention, for [his] heretofore unknown hybrids." --Publishers Weekly
In his award-winning debut, Ken Chen draws on techniques from filmmaking... irresistible, strange and swift in its movements... funny and deadpan... Juvenilia is an inventive exploration of identity in transition.
--Karen Rigby, Raintaxi
"I cannot think of another young poet who writes so palpably, ingenuously about love."
--Ron Slate, author of The Incentive of the Maggot, The Quarterly Conversation
Fresh and intelligent... assemblage of disjointed narratives, syllogisms, aphorisms... Somber yet playful, self-disparaging yet hopeful... Poetry becomes a way through both loss and revival.
--Abigail Licad, Hyphen Magazine
"These are the poems of intense feeling; they have isolated and dramatized the profound dilemma of the adult’s relation to childhood in poems of riveting intelligence and sharp wit and austere beauty. Like only the best poets, Ken Chen makes with his voice a new category."—Louise Gluck, from the Foreword
(Louise Gluck )
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.