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."
is also the author of The Book of
(2003), and his poems have appeared
in The New Republic, Ploughshares,
. His current project is The Last Time You Cried
published spring 2007
from Ausable Press
(now part of Copper Canyon Press
, 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
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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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
— 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
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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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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