Your Face My Flag

Copper Canyon. Oct. 2022. 112p. ISBN 9781556596469. pap. $17. POETRY
Gewirtz’s debut poetry collection reflects his work as a scholar and policy adviser specializing in China (e.g., Unlikely Partners), with many poems focusing on life in China and the geopolitical tensions between China and the West. The collection opens with a piece centered on Destination Club, which may be the only official and openly gay club in Beijing, and a haunting 17-part poem chronicles the suicide of a migrant worker at a China-based Foxconn factory that produces iPhones: “If you doze off/ and fall against the machines and/ there is a live wire no one will/ save you The workshop/ still as a ravine in autumn.” Other poems range across continents and centuries, moving from mummified bodies uncovered in bogs in the Netherlands to “Own Weather,” which considers a 1996 report by the U.S. Department of the Air Force proposing that by 2025 U.S. aerospace could “own the weather” through weather modification. Throughout, the author draws inspiration from artists ranging from Shakespeare and William Wordsworth to Fiona Apple.
VERDICT In a collection that’s vividly detailed and layered, Gewirtz proves to be a wonderful storyteller, covering a wide range of subjects and frequently addressing social justice issues. Recommended for all collections.
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