ABR author uses stories to talk about maternal families, feminism, fish (w/audio)
Jan. 26, 2014 at 10:05 p.m.
Updated Jan. 25, 2014 at 7:26 p.m.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Marilyn Chin, American Book Review Reading Series
WHEN: Noon Thursday
WHERE: Alcorn Auditorium, University West, University of Houston-Victoria, 3007 N. Ben Wilson St.
Here's an excerpt from Marilyn Chin's collection of poetry, "Hard Providence: Poems."
From "Beautiful Boyfriend"
My skiff is made of spicewood my oars are Cassia bract
Music flows from bow to starboard
Early Mozart cool side of Coltrane and miles and miles of Miles
Cheap Californian Merlot and my young boyfriend
If I could master the nine doors of my body
And close my heart to the cries of suffering
Perhaps I could love you like no other
Float my mind toward the other side of hate
The shanty towns of Tijuana sing for you
The slums of Little Sudan hold evening prayer
One dead brown boy is a tragedy
Ten thousand is a statistic
So let's f--- my love until the dogs pass
All beautiful boyfriends are transitory
They have no souls they're shiny brown flesh
Tomorrow they'll turn into purple festering corpses
Fissured gored by a myriad flies
Down the Irrawaddy River you lay yourself to sleep
No sun no moon no coming no going
No causality no personality
No hunger no thirst
Malarial deltas typhoidal cays
Tsunamis don't judge Calamity grieves no one
The poor will be submerged the rich won't be saved
Purge the innocent sink the depraved
What do I smell but the perfume of transience
Crushed calyxes rotting phloems
Let's write pretty poems pretty poems pretty poems
Masque stale pogroms with a sweet whiff of oblivion
Source: Marilyn Chin
Author Marilyn Chin writes for the wild-girl generation, as she's coined it.
Wild girls, as the Chinese-American author describes, are third-wave feminists who embody the new woman.
Chin, who recently retired from the University of San Diego, will give a reading Thursday at the University of Houston-Victoria.
Her visit is part of the university's American Book Review Reading Series, funded in part by local movers and shakers and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Chin's grandmother, who raised her granddaughters with an iron first, served as her inspiration for her most recent wild-girl book, "Revenge of the Mooncake Vixen."
"Grandmothers are taking over, especially in immigrant families," Chin said. "Grandmothers take charge of families and child-rearing because parents are usually so busy working two or three jobs."
In "Revenge of the Mooncake Vixen," Chin writes a fictional account of a Chinese grandmother who slaps an orange carp to death in protest of a Japanese water garden given to the city of San Francisco by Emperor Hirohito, of Japan.
After killing the fish against a commemorative plaque, the grandmother takes the fish home and cooks it for her granddaughters.
"Millions of Chinese people died during the war against Imperial Japan," Chin said. "She felt she had the right to take a fish and take it home and eat it."
Several of Chin's stories in "Revenge of the Mooncake Vixen" take on a humorous, yet dark look at the history of Chinese immigrants assimilating to American culture.
Her new collection of poems, "Hard Love Providence: Poems," hits bookstore shelves this summer and moves away from the grandmother theme and toward the subject of love.
Chin is working on more tales inspired by the days of when her grandmother ran a Chinese restaurant in Oregon and others with a tinge of terror.
"I'm writing some spookier tales," Chin said. "They're fun-loving, but they're kind of scary."