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An unsentimental and at times disquieting first collection, the poems of About Crowsexcavate self, family, race, location, sex, art, and religion to uncover the artifacts of a succession of traumas that the speaker does not always experience firsthand but carries with him to refashion into some new importance. This is a book of half-states, broken affiliations, and dislocation. The speaker leads the reader through the fragments of a flooded town that grows increasingly elusive the more one looks for it; through a succession of Seoul "love motels" that further displace the outsider to unclaimed margins transformed into sites of creative invention; through "galleries" of artwork, where movement, color, and image are renewed through ekphrasis; and through the world of the metatextual long poem "The Cult Poem," where good and bad moral binaries tangle into a rat's nest of our best and worst spiritual ambitions. The poems and sequences of About Crowsare marked by their artistic balance of the sublime and the profane, of polyphony, syntactical complexity, clashing images, cagey humor, and unsettling sincerity, all trying desperately to connect.
When I tell her I've started to write a book "about crows,"
she says she's not certain if there ever was a bar across the street from her
nursery school or whether watermelons were sold from a truck there
for only a dollar. Though she's been questioned countless times, she's still
unsure what happened before her mouth learned to stop screaming and worked
only to lick condensation from the brick walls of a padlocked root cellar.