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title

All That Divides Us

Poems

Elinor Benedict foreword by Maxine Kumin

Publication Year: 2000

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.

Published by: Utah State University Press

CONTENTS

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pp. vii-viii

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FOREWORD

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pp. ix-x

When I undertook this brief introduction, I found myself in the refreshing position of not knowing the identity of the prizewinning poet, or where, or indeed whether, any of these poems had been previously published. Out of 728 manuscripts submitted, this one by Elinor Benedict surfaced as I read through the final completely...

ONE: Begin the Ceremony

LETTER TO MYSELF ON MY BIRTHDAY

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pp. 3-6

A BRIDGE TO CHINA

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pp. 7-

TO THE CHINESE PEOPLE, WHO SEE THE SAME STARS

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pp. 8-

TWO: Strangers and Kin

PAPER FLOWERS

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pp. 11-

NEARLY

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pp. 12-

MEETING OUR CHINESE COUSINS

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pp. 13-

TWO WOMEN LEAVING BEIJING

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pp. 14-15

IMMOLATION OF A STRANGER

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pp. 16-17

HAWTHORNS

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pp. 18-

CITY OF DUST AND WATER

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pp. 19-20

THE GUEST CHAIR AT NANKAI UNIVERSITY

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pp. 21-22

CHINAVISION

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pp. 23-24

STORYTELLER

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pp. 25-

THREE: In the Company of Magpies

THE CHINESE ART & CULTURE TOUR

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pp. 29-33

SYLVIA PLATH IN CHINA

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pp. 34-

GHOST CITY

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pp. 35-36

THE TRUTH ABOUT HISTORY

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pp. 37-38

HOW TO CHANGE A COUNTRY

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pp. 39-40

YIN AND YANG

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pp. 41-

MR. YUAN’ S TWO JOYS

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pp. 42-43

CHINESE PUZZLE

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pp. 44-

FULL MOON HARVEST FESTIVAL AT THE SPA CITY

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pp. 45-

PEACE ROAD KINDERGARTEN

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pp. 46-47

TIGER HILL

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pp. 48-

VISION AT TAI-SHAN MOUNTAIN

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pp. 49-

FOUR: Looking for Grace

WHERE IT HURTS

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pp. 53-

DEEP ENOUGH TO GO HOME

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pp. 54-55

SCARRED BAGGAGE

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pp. 56-57

FOUND SNAPSHOT: THE YEAR HIS SISTER LEFT

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pp. 58-

REMEMBERING THE THREE GORGES

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pp. 59-

THE ROPE

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pp. 60-

MISSING IN CHINA

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pp. 61-

FOR THOSE WHO DREAM OF CRANES

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pp. 62-63

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

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pp. 64-65

Grateful acknowledgment is made to the following publications in which these poems, some of them in different forms, have appeared: Helicon Nine: “Two Women Leaving Beijing,” “City of Dust and Water” under the title “In a Far City.” The Helicon Reader: “Two Women Leaving Beijing.” Iris: “The Gift Mirror,” “Hawthorns,”...

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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pp. 66-

Elinor Benedict, a native of Tennessee and graduate of Duke University, earned an M.A. in English from Wright State University, Ohio and an M.F.A. in Writing from Vermont College. She has won several journalism prizes, the Mademoiselle Fiction Prize, a Michigan Council for the Arts Award, and an Editor’s...

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ABOUT THE MAY SWENSON POETRY AWARD

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pp. 67-

The May Swenson Poetry Award was named for May Swenson, and honors her as one of America’s most provocative, insouciant, and vital poets.During her long career, May was loved and praised by writers from virtually every major school of poetry. In John Hollander’s words, she was “one of our few unquestionably major poets.” She left a...


E-ISBN-13: 9780874213331
Print-ISBN-13: 9780874214062

Page Count: 67
Publication Year: 2000