Marilyn Chin is a poet acclaimed by Adrienne Rich for her powerful, uncompromised, and unerring poems. Dancing brilliantly between Eastern and Western forms, fusing ancient Chinese history and contemporary American popular culture, she is one of the most celebrated Asian-American poets writing today. Chin's fourth volume of poems, Hard Love Province, is composed of erotic elegies in which the speaker grieves for the loss of her beloved. In Void she writes with the imagistic, distilled quietude of a solitary mourner: It's t that you are rare / Nor are you extraordinary // O lone wren sobbing on the bodhi tree / You are simple and sincere. In Formosan Elegy, by contrast, she is that mourner, beyond simplicity or quietude, crying out for a lover: I sing for you but my tears have dried in my gullet / Walk the old dog give the budgies a cool bath / Cut a tender melon let it bleed into memory. Here, too, are poems inspired by Chin's poetic forbearers and mentors-Dickinson, Plath, Ai, Gwendolyn Brooks, Tu Fu, Adrienne Rich, and others-horing their work and descrying the global injustice they addressed. Whose life is it anyway? she asks in a poem for Rich, She born of chrysalis and shit / Or she born of woman and pain? Emotionally nuanced and electric with high-flying verbal experimentation, image after image, line by line, Chin's spectacular reinventions, her quatrains, sonnets, allegories, and elegies, are unforgettable.
Marilyn Chin was born in Hong Kong. She is the author of three previous poetry collections and a novel. Her work has appeared in The Norton Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, The Norton Anthology of Literature by Women, and Best American Poetry, among other publications. The winner of the PEN/Josephine Miles Literary Award, five Pushcart Prizes, fellowships from the United States Artists Foundation and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, among other honors, she lives in San Diego.