Ghenghis Chan on Drums

Omnidawn. Oct. 2021. 152p. ISBN 9781632431004. pap. $17.95. POETRY
Challenging the status quo and distortions of thought and language, award winning poet Yau (Bijoux in the Dark) is audaciously forthright on multiple cultural issues. A series of “O Pin Yin” sonnets launch an acid attack on Chinese stereotypes (among them: “They invented fireworks, noodles, and kung fu, which hardly adds up to a civilization”), and Yau is quick to challenge sociopolitical oppression generally (“Don’t say ‘pandemic lockdown’/ Say Fuck the rich/their private island getaways”). Five “A Painter’s Thoughts” poems create an oasis (Yau is also an art critic), but then the septuagenarian poet turns around and happily slams aging in the face (“I always sign the guest book with three X’s because growing old is pornographic”).

VERDICT An absolute delight for the politically engaged or anyone who loves edgy, energized verse.
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