In this Book

All That Divides Us
summary
Although the poems in this collection are not narrative, they do present a narrative, gradually unspooling the tale of the poet's rebel aunt, who left the family "to marry a Chinaman" in the 1930s. It's an old story, full of poignancy, mystery, family pride, and doubt. When the aunt returns to die, the poet, now grown, discovers in herself the need to reclaim the connections that her family had severed. She travels to China several times—to learn. Gradually, through wide-eyed insightful poems, we see the poet rebuild with her Chinese cousins a sense of generation, family, and humanity—bridging over all that divides us. Elinor Benedict has also received the Mademoiselle Fiction Prize, a Michigan Council for the Arts Award, and an Editor's Grant from the Coordinating Council of Literary Magazines (CLMP). She earned an M.F.A. in writing from Vermont College and her work has also appeared in various literary journals and in five chapbooks.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Frontmatter
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  1. CONTENTS
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. FOREWORD
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. ONE: Begin the Ceremony
  2. p. 1
  1. LETTER TO MYSELF ON MY BIRTHDAY
  2. pp. 3-6
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  1. A BRIDGE TO CHINA
  2. p. 7
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  1. TO THE CHINESE PEOPLE, WHO SEE THE SAME STARS
  2. p. 8
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  1. TWO: Strangers and Kin
  2. p. 9
  1. PAPER FLOWERS
  2. p. 11
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  1. NEARLY
  2. p. 12
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  1. MEETING OUR CHINESE COUSINS
  2. p. 13
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  1. TWO WOMEN LEAVING BEIJING
  2. pp. 14-15
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  1. IMMOLATION OF A STRANGER
  2. pp. 16-17
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  1. HAWTHORNS
  2. p. 18
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  1. CITY OF DUST AND WATER
  2. pp. 19-20
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  1. THE GUEST CHAIR AT NANKAI UNIVERSITY
  2. pp. 21-22
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  1. CHINAVISION
  2. pp. 23-24
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  1. STORYTELLER
  2. p. 25
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  1. THREE: In the Company of Magpies
  2. p. 27
  1. THE CHINESE ART & CULTURE TOUR
  2. pp. 29-33
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  1. SYLVIA PLATH IN CHINA
  2. p. 34
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  1. GHOST CITY
  2. pp. 35-36
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  1. THE TRUTH ABOUT HISTORY
  2. pp. 37-38
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  1. HOW TO CHANGE A COUNTRY
  2. pp. 39-40
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  1. YIN AND YANG
  2. p. 41
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  1. MR. YUAN’ S TWO JOYS
  2. pp. 42-43
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  1. CHINESE PUZZLE
  2. p. 44
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  1. FULL MOON HARVEST FESTIVAL AT THE SPA CITY
  2. p. 45
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  1. PEACE ROAD KINDERGARTEN
  2. pp. 46-47
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  1. TIGER HILL
  2. p. 48
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  1. VISION AT TAI-SHAN MOUNTAIN
  2. p. 49
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  1. FOUR: Looking for Grace
  2. p. 51
  1. WHERE IT HURTS
  2. p. 53
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  1. DEEP ENOUGH TO GO HOME
  2. pp. 54-55
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  1. SCARRED BAGGAGE
  2. pp. 56-57
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  1. FOUND SNAPSHOT: THE YEAR HIS SISTER LEFT
  2. p. 58
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  1. REMEMBERING THE THREE GORGES
  2. p. 59
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  1. THE ROPE
  2. p. 60
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  1. MISSING IN CHINA
  2. p. 61
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  1. FOR THOSE WHO DREAM OF CRANES
  2. pp. 62-63
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  1. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
  2. pp. 64-65
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  1. ABOUT THE AUTHOR
  2. p. 66
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  1. ABOUT THE MAY SWENSON POETRY AWARD
  2. p. 67
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