Song of the Cicadas by Mong-Lan
(Juniper Prize)

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In this striking first collection of poems, the grainy strangeness of the modern world is transformed into a place at once knowable and enduring. Mông-Lan conveys the certainty that even when the world stops making sense, decency and beauty somehow survive. From Saigon to San Francisco, she combines the earthly and the ecstatic, the animal and the sublime, to create lyrics that tempt and haunt.

"Welcome to a poetic voice that represents no less than a manifestation of soul. In Mông-Lan's debut book, she has taken on the daunting responsibility of representing the Vietnamese nation and culture, via imagery, consciousness, and memory. Hers is a stunning experiment and a historical imperative."-Jane Miller

"In Asian tradition, poetry and visual art go hand in hand, with the collaboration of work, image, and calligraphy. Mông-Lan's first book renews this tradition for American poetry, and with a startling subject matter. Her poems and drawings dealing with Viet Nam reflect the awe, the anger, and the mourning of the expatriate who returns to the country of her birth. Brilliantly exact observation of people and places here is paradoxical evidence that this land is no longer entirely her own. We sense that she also values what she brings from her adoptive culture-a new language, a new aesthetic, and the conviction that a woman artist has special insights to offer on the subject of armed conflict and its aftermath. From visual beauty, human suffering, and verbal inventiveness, Mông-Lan stakes out a poetic territory that is completely her own."-Alfred Corn

"Mông-Lan is a remarkably accomplished poet. Always her poems are deft, extremely graceful in the way words move, and in the cadence that carries them. One is moved by the articulate character of 'things seen,' the subtle shifting of images, and the quiet intensity of their information. Clearly she is a master of the art."-Robert Creeley


About Mong-Lan

See more books from this Author
lan is a writer, visual artist, and dancer
Published June 1, 2001 by Univ of Massachusetts Pr. 96 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Song of the Cicadas

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Though the poems can have the too-even keel of reportage, they also ascend to heights of electric oddity: one poem finds new things to say about "The Golden Gate Bridge," where "the wind's mood and resolutions/ erase tendrils/ that grow/ from the sea (to engrave around it/ have that as a dish/ yo...

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ForeWord Reviews

In “The Long Bien Bridge,” Ming-Lan graphically describes the hard life of much of the Vietnamese population around the Red River: “Her older sister / who refuses to marry him / sits near the bridge amassing / vegetables for sale / mounds of mint / hills of water spinach / guavas bananas - the po...

Aug 16 2001 | Read Full Review of Song of the Cicadas (Juniper ...

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