Jee Leong Koh, Steep Tea, Carcanet Press, 2015. 72 pgs.
Collier Nogues, The Ground I Stand-on isn't My Floor, Drunken Boat, 2015. 76 pgs.
In Steep Tea, Jee Leong Koh, a Singaporean poet now residing in nyc, shows his fascination with woman poets, quoting their particular writing and rethinking their some ideas. Every poem begins with a quote from their many muses, including Eavan Boland and Elizabeth Bishop, whom he cites as their "poetic moms" in a blog entry he had written for their author, Carcanet. Inside their 4th collection, Koh's private poems express his many delicate emotions from becoming real to himself while living overseas to reminiscing about his Asian roots. In almost every term and picture, including type, he exudes the same amount of subtlety, imagination and alertness towards many contexts he writes in.
The opening poem, "Eve's Fault, " foreshadows Koh's numerous efforts at alluding to feminist tips to be able to deliver ahead missing perspectives when you look at the discourse of love. The retelling of biblical tale comes from the historical wisdom of Eve's interest. Initially the woman choice to pick the apple was seen as the woman fault, but as it is suggested inside poem, Eve may be blamed on her love as an alternative. The paradox lies in the double meaning of "fault" (as both culpability and weakness) and just how the lady dependence on Adam results in their particular becoming banished from the yard.
For the collection, how the sound of women character remains unheard by the patriarchy lays the cornerstone for all poems where the author reflects on becoming gay in face of the misunderstandings his coming out would engender. Romance between two males is first narrated in "You Know, not." Within the opening stanza, the personae establishes the phase:
This is the story of a person and a man,
maybe not present in Eden, perhaps in Uruk,
but really in a bar at Second Avenue
and East Houston, nearby the F train stop.
Below is probably a first-person view of a bar scene, which describes its clients as storytellers composing urban myths that kind a straight larger myth of exactly how all stories could be produced. The main focus associated with the poem is obviously on the "what they told by themselves." Even though the publisher never ever explicitly gives us the why when it comes to many reports told that evening, in the end we learn that the storytellers are finally relocated by the "torrential air" of love and intercourse:
Listen, they are asking where the various other life.
They truly are edging their tales at night last
and making all of them up currently because they leave
the bar. Exactly what do they think they may be performing?
I don't know. The waves rise once more and crash
over all of them, while they flag down a cruising taxi.
The torrential atmosphere, hidden and powerful,
drives them in, and slams the door after all of them.
By its extremely nature, love is breathed inside and out in the air, inexplicable but omnipresent, believed and experienced by everyone, no matter sexuality. Throughout the very first half of the collection, discover little work made towards a powerful refutation associated with common misconceptions about homosexuality. Just what the publisher does rather is bring justice to unheard feminine sounds, often linking them to individual stories to illustrate how the same emotions of love could be thought by various types of loving couples. Take, including, "domed/doomed/deem'd, " in which the personae's experience of reading the poems of woman Mary Wroth under a reading light leads to him musing towards nature of his or her own relationship and of love generally: "i'm a lot more than the center, more than a reading light, / this coffee, this sighing, this darkness, is love too."
The 2nd 50 % of the book deals less with love and more because of the blogger's recollections of their past in Singapore, some of which are of their mother, the most significant of his "poetic mothers."...