100 Chi­nese Si­lences

Foreword Reviews - - Spotlight Reviews Poetry - BY MATT SUTHER­LAND

Ti­mothy Yu, Les Figues Press Soft­cover $17 (135pp), 978-1-934254-61-5

All na­ture of tired, ab­surd stereotypes of China and her peo­ple main­tain a hold on the minds of most Amer­i­cans, even as China’s su­per­power as­cen­dancy has dom­i­nated head­lines for some twenty-five years. With weaponized pen, Ti­mothy Yu set off on a one-hun­dred-poem cru­sade to heap ridicule and bril­liant in­sight at Ezra Pound, Gary Sny­der, Billy Collins, and other pur­vey­ors of Far East fal­si­ties. Yu is di­rec­tor of Asian Amer­i­can Stud­ies at the Univer­sity of Wis­con­sin-madi­son.

Chi­nese Si­lence No. 37 af­ter Tony Barn­stone, “Get Zen”

Get laid, you think. Or try. In­dulge your lusts. Think of a joke: What do you say to Freud When he comes to your weiner stand, bill poised For pay­ment? “Some­times a hot dog is just a hot dog.” Eas­ier to close your eyes and think of Bud­dha, roly-poly gut and empty loins—he’s kind of like you but on pur­pose, not a loser full of sighs. Grat­i­fi­ca­tion is a young man’s game. Now that you’re old, it’s time to turn Chi­nese and cul­ti­vate a neutered si­lence. Pleased to make an Eastern virtue of your sad­sack self! You don’t re­ally think de­sire’s bad; self-pity’s just bet­ter in Bud­dha’s name.

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