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Yu Xiang comfortably inhabits the negative space between viewer and subject, artist and artwork, the lover and her beloved in this acrobatic, ekphrastic, meditatively-compelling collection. Fiona Sze-Lorrain’s crisp translation invites American readers to experience Yu Xiang’s poetic mastery half a world away from its formative origins in the Shandong province, bringing into focus the voice of one of China’s most celebrated and memorable female voices. “I have a lonely yet / stable life,” Yu admits at one point in the book. “This is my house. If / you happen to walk in, it’s certainly not / for my rambling notes.” Yu Xiang disarms her reader with exacting imagery and pathos in order to tell the aching, unavoidable truth of womanhood in these striking poems. —Dorianne Laux

Table of Contents

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  1. Title Page, Copyright Page
  2. pp. 1-4
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. v-viii
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  1. Foreward: My Children Will Return Me to Solitude
  2. pp. ix-xvi
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  1. I . You’re Simply Chez Moi
  2. pp. 1-18
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  1. II. This Person Is Vanishing
  2. pp. 19-36
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  1. III. Hanging in Mid-Air, My Heart Does not Fall
  2. pp. 37-52
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  1. IV. With a Nose That Always Points Straight Ahead
  2. pp. 53-68
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  1. V. The Rotten and the Fresh, Both Can’t Live Anew
  2. pp. 69-78
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  1. VI. Now I Plan to Retire, As a Harmless Everyman
  2. pp. 79-86
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  1. VII. Our Body Shapes Stick Together
  2. pp. 87-108
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  1. VIII. A Severed Finger That Performs for Dead Spirits
  2. pp. 109-124
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  1. IX. Kept for Oneself
  2. pp. 125-134
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  1. X. If I Can Indeed Have a Background
  2. pp. 135-150
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 151-152
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