I Wore My Blackest Hair

Little A: Amazon. Nov. 2017. 92p. ISBN 9781503941977. pap. $14.95. POETRY
An abusive father (Chinese in his fists…. I Google translated.Idiot girl. Idiot"). The immigrant's outsider identity struggle ("My English is hot, pursuing me with a gun"). Racist taunting ("the Chink is a mammal who loves dirt/ and kernels of white rice"). The anxieties of adolescence ("other girls' blood on toilet seats/ color of roses and jam"). Profound loneliness and longing ("I want to catch so much of this earth/ on the gentle tongue, but/ outside: there is only snow./ and inside: there is only muscle"). Fierce assertiveness, too (my mother is not/ from your country,/ and I am not/ ashamed"). Duan reveals it all with lyrical precision.
VERDICT An accomplished first collection for a wide range of readers.

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