Penury

Myung Mi Kim, Author . Omnidawn $15.95 (111p) ISBN 978-1-890650-37-7

Avant gardist Kim's fifth book is a diligent inquiry into the relationship between language and power. The poems take place in a wasteland where war and, as the title would suggest, poverty are the norm; immigrants are treated with harsh suspicion and interrogated repeatedly, and Kim's rage at injustice and suffering rings loudly: “[lookout post] / Are these your names/ From we are from where are you from/ Say this may speaking// To burn or expose to the threat of the sun a person with a pigeon chest and protruding stomach.” The most fragmentary of these poems, which sprawl inventively across the whole page, can be quite difficult to parse, at times overwhelmingly so; still, a sense of urgent confusion comes to the fore, enriching the book's overall texture. Finally, this is an unsettling, collection that staunchly confronts a point in history “when the fish die all at once and appear on/ the banks all at once.” (June)

Reviewed on: 06/15/2009
Release date: 06/01/2009
Genre: Nonfiction
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