SOMETHING HAS HAPPENED HERE: an empire has gone to seed, another country goes on strike, some begin eating dirt and flowers, and a couple lives on a riverboat to avoid the ground. In MINE, Tung-Hui Hu makes myths out of the personal. He speaks of desire and awkwardness and of the earth that contains both. Resonant, blunt, this is writing that excavates. As history unfolds over and over the same soil, these poems become, Hu writes, "practice for the living."
 
TUNG-HUI HU is also the author of The Book of Motion (2003), and his poems have appeared in The New Republic, Ploughshares, and AGNI. His current project is The Last Time You Cried.
 
ISBN 978-1-931337-33-5
published spring 2007 from Ausable Press
(now part of Copper Canyon Press)
contact: Joseph Bednarik, publicity director

About the Author

A native of San Francisco, Tung-Hui Hu has worked as a political consultant and computer scientist, and holds degrees from Princeton, Michigan, and UC Berkeley. His third collection of poems, forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press, won the 2007 James D. Phelan Literary Award; the citation reads: "Greenhouses, Lighthouses is a provocative gesture toward cinematography... A radiant offering for our times." He is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Michigan.

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Reviews

This fresh and unexpected poet extends the lyric into the social space without losing any of song's intensity or mystery, so that these casually elegant, affecting poems feel as interior as they are worldly.    — Mark Doty

Pound said that poetry should be as well written as prose. [Mine,] composed of translucent and sinewy sentences set in loosely cascading lines, shows a range of subject matter (history, empire, mythic epilogues) unavailable to more lyrical poets... The result is something other than fiction or history or myth. It is a poetry composed of figments of reality.
— Citation for the Eisner Prize

[American lyric poetry] does not have to be, as some have asserted, superficial or cliche-laden... Tung-Hui Hu, for example, proves the opposite.
— Neue Zürcher Zeitung (Switzerland)

 

...an investigative, open minded approach and Hu's jewel-like control of imagery and structure make Mine, indeed, a truly innovative and impressive collection. It is not explained easily, and after many readings, its inherent energy has not at all diminished. It is often stunning and always memorable.
— Lizzie Hutton, Rain Taxi Review of Books

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Appearances - 2013

My visit The Poetry Show to KUSP-FM 88.9 (Santa Cruz) is archived here; or listen to the podcast

March 29: "Greenhouses, Lighthouses", my third book of poems, is available!

April 20: Dollhouse Reading Series, Chicago, IL

April 26: One Pause Poetry, Ann Arbor, MI

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Excerpts

Early Winter, after Sappho

Some say the air of
early winter moving through
windows. For some, black ships

coming towards the city
are the quietest sounds on earth.
But I say it is with whomever one loves.

And very easily proved:
when we are trying to think of
something to say to each other,

each remembering back
who said what, the ground
we'e already covered,

 

you can hear all the money
lost earlier in the stock market,
even fresh water slipping
into salt water.

Not That Our Empire Declines

Do you know the woman who grinds
a pestle of iron year after year against
the rocks? Her eyes are closed, thinking
of all the things that need repair:
the buttons come off shirts,
the fish in the oceans. The truth is,
civil servants are here to staunch

 

the decay, not that our empire declines
but that it has grown like fruit trees
planted in flower pots.
The graft will not
take here, so repair the rootstock,

repair the spine tissue that keeps her awake
at night, repair the burn mark from father,
repair the cat which speaks as it
reaches up for meat on the shelf,
repair to the dining room,
repair the cow jumped over the moon

and the sheep come crashing down
onto the fence, repair that too.

Read "Convalescence" at Poetry Daily
Read "The Strike" at The New Republic
Read "And About Time" at The Greensboro Review
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