POETRY

Barbie Chang

Copper Canyon. Nov. 2017. 96p. ISBN 9781556595165. pap. $16. POETRY
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Having investigated the strains of office life in The Boss, a PEN Center award winner, Chang turns to another arena in which power plays out uncomfortably. Barbie Chang may strive for the artificial perfection of her namesake, but the Circle of mothers at school shut her out ("a potomac// hurt why unearth her high school her/ children unearth// everything"). At stake isn't just odd otherness, of course, but race; one woman "would never/ again say hello to that// Chang even one named Barbie." Meanwhile, Barbie contends with ailing parents as Chang's unpunctuated rush of language amplifies the tension.
VERDICT Perhaps not as sprightly as The Boss but still satisfying work from rising-star Chang, exploring the little explored.

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