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The Same-Different: Poems (Walt Whitman…

The Same-Different: Poems (Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American…

by Hannah Sanghee Park

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There is much to admire in Hannah Sanghee Park's collection: Her efforts to refresh the language by turning cliche's on their heads, by extensive wordplay and pun, her surprising us by turning a stale image inside out. Too often, though, the craft and the verbal gymnastics overwhelm the heart.

There are some wonderful exceptions. "Nommo in September" touches deeply. The third section of the book "Fear" is a poem sequence of sorts that also speaks more deeply. Nonetheless, this is a collection I am glad to have read, but do not feel driven to reread. ( )
  dasam | Jul 25, 2017 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0807160091, Paperback)

Deceptively straightforward and subtly pyrotechnic, the poems in Hannah Sanghee Park's debut collection captivate with their wordplay at first glance, then give rise to opportunities for extended reflection. ''If / truth be told, I can't be true,'' she writes, but her startling juxtapositions of sound and meaning belie that claim, necessitating a search for the truth behind her semantic games.

Here are dozens of brief sentences that can serve as epigrams to undermine our ordinary ways of seeing, as Park's playfully deployed puns recall the sly paradoxes of Oscar Wilde. The Same-Different ranges from the wonders of the natural world to close human relationships, occasioning the kind of explorations offered in ''And A Lie'': ''The asking was askance. / And the tell all told. / So then, in tandem // Anathema, and anthem.''

(retrieved from Amazon Wed, 22 Jul 2015 13:04:04 -0400)

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