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[image and design by Sean Chao: http://ilikesoju.blogspot.com/2011/06/water-chasing-water.html     ]

Much poetry, and much of Koon Woon’s Water Chasing Water, is about nuance and sonorities—a vibrato and richness in phrasing, delivery and imagery. Koon Woon’s sonorities are layered with an Asian American lexicon of the great Northwest: from North Beach Chinatown to the Seattle International District’s Hing Hay Park, the Pacific Northwest looms redolent and rainy, wet lonely streets and neon lit nights beyond which looms a vast mythical China, where wandering Taoist hermit poets conflate with the politically persecuted and disenfranchised working class Chinese bachelors on the West Coast of the early 20th century. Koon Woon fluently braids both “rice congee at Shamin, the breeze from the Pearl River/ on yung trees massive for a child…” with “washing dishes at China Gate Cafe” and “let/ the/ Chinese mafia/ sleep tonight so I can be at peace…” We readers are lucky Koon Woon hid out in the Aberdeen, Washington walk-in freezer of the family restaurant to read Joyce and Kafka. It takes a cross-cultural rebel and sometime outsider like Koon Woon to move between worlds, showing us the doors between worlds, crossing the Pacific in a wink, to notice “After each violent storm, knick-knacks from Asia litter our beaches/ and the undertow is still just as strong and violent.”

water chasing water

see http://www.spdbooks.org/Producte/9781885030498/water-chasing-water-new-and-selected-poetry.aspx

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