phrasis

 
pub date: 04/25/2017
paperback isbn: 978-1-934200-94-0
paperback: $15.95

Wendy Xu articulates the whole world by freezing it all at once, looking closely at its parts, and zeroing in on the one image or phrase or feeling that makes the day seem possibly beautiful under all the scaffolding, sirens, and other natural (analog and online) interruptions that make up daily living.

The poems in this collection play word against words, expression against frame. Is language a form of thought-bondage? How can poems escape and bring us closer to the personal and the possibility of intimacy? Phrasis might form an answer; Xu writes: “My source text was unresponsive and so varying methods, slashed it / pink instead.” Her poems provide a way out and in: they slide in the making, a kind of sleight-of-hand inside the mind of language, freeing us to imagine and slice or “likewise lurch / and stutter”—marvelously so: “tenderly / a finger set / to music.” —Hoa Nguyen

Wendy Xu’s new book is interested in the fragment as the unit of composition to understand a world. With uncanny detail her images open and her diction blooms to build a complex psychology for the present moment. This is an interior work and high-minded, full of daring and bravado.   —Peter Gizzi

Wendy Xu’s new collection of poems sends a spiritual charge through the language we use in our everyday speech, and in so doing, illumines the various manners of our speaking, some hushed, some hesitant, and all of them as revelatory as snow that “proposes slowly to us an order.” —Tan Lin