- Pasta blanda: 97 páginas
- Editor: New York Quarterly Books (9 de octubre de 2017)
- Idioma: Inglés
- ISBN-10: 1630450529
- ISBN-13: 978-1630450526
- Dimensiones del producto: 14 x 1.3 x 21.6 cm
- Peso del envío: 127 g
- Opinión media de los clientes sobre el producto: Sé el primero en calificar este artículo
And So I Was Blessed (Inglés) Pasta blanda – 9 oct 2017
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And So I Was Blessed combines songs of innocence with songs of experience, sometimes in the same poem. They take us on a journey with an Asian American speaker in search of a lost home, but along with discovering his Americanness abroad, we sense his depth of humanity no matter where he lands.
--Floyd Cheung, Professor of English, Smith College
Bunkong Tuon writes with clarity, honesty, and depth of feeling about the Cambodian-American experience like no one else. The pain of prejudice and loss, the struggle with identity, the hope and joy that family past and present bring. This book is a blessing for all readers.
--Jim McCord, Emeritus Professor of English, Union College
In Bunkong Tuon's second collection, And So I Was Blessed, we go with him as he visits his father's village. His grandmother, aunts, and uncles welcome him warmly, passing down family folklore with humor, and he learns all about the love his father had for him, the love he always missed. Gratefully, he accepts these gifts, these blessings, and brings them home to his wife, his newborn daughter, and to us, his most fortunate readers, to enrich our lives.
--Tony Gloeggler, author of Until the Last Light Leaves
Descripción del producto
"In Bunkong Tuon's second collection, AND SO I WAS BLESSED, we go with him as he visits his father's village. His grandmother, aunts, and uncles welcome him warmly, passing down family folklore with humor, and he learns all about the love his father had for him, the love he always missed. Gratefully, he accepts these gifts, these blessings, and brings them home to his wife, his newborn daughter, and to us, his most fortunate readers, to enrich our lives."—Tony Gloeggler
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The first two poems “Friend” and “Enemy” set the tone for the entire collection, in that what we assume to be true is often proven otherwise. In “Enemy,” a friend asks him why the narrator is going to Vietnam, since “They’re our enemy.” The friend goes on to explain, “The Khmer Rouge were/ trained by the Vietnamese./ Look at what they did to us!/ They may have Khmer bodies,/ but their minds are Vietnamese!” The friend goes on and the narrator thanks him for his thoughts, but the last line, the friend’s closing statement, highlights the irony of the exchange: “Just looking out for you, brother.” In “Enemy,” the poem that follows, the narrator shares a positive experience on the airplane with someone who by definition could be labeled his enemy. Although they didn’t talk too much, their silent interaction is touching, as noted by the narrator. “We ate quietly./ Then the woman touched/ my shoulder and held out a bowl/ of chicken salad.” Later he says, “She then reached into her purse,/ handed me a stick of gum,/ and smiled.” This poem sets up questions for a motif that surfaces in other pieces: Who is your friend? Who is your enemy? How do you tell the difference?
Tuon’s style which is straightforward narrative is filled with metaphorical gems like in “Searching for Father in Kampuchea Krom” #5: “Privacy was the mosquito net/ and the darkness of the countryside.” The narrator is the “nephew from America,/ in his forties and recently a father.” He is experiencing the life that his father experienced, he is seeing firsthand the disparity between two cultures and utilizes his poetic prowess to enhance his observations. The last line shows how unsettling the night was, “My father once slept and ate here,/ breathed this air, walked on this dirt./ The bed was hard, the pillows high,/ my back ached. I tossed and turned,/ wrestling with thoughts of him.” This section of the collection focuses on returning to his father’s homeland and meeting family, who tell the narrator stories about his father. They talk about hunger, desperation, what a father does for a child like in #12; the narrator writes, “My father got down/ on his knees,/ clasped hands over head,/ and begged them/ for a sliver of a victim’s liver/ so that I would not starve./While everyone was sleeping/ my father snuck into the kitchen,/ stole a branch of coconuts/ and buried them in the woods.” The coconuts that the father dug up to feed his child every time he was hungry seems the perfect metaphor for what a parent will do for a child.
The distress in the poem, where the narrator loses sleep thinking of his father, is also shared when the narrator thinks about his own daughter when away on a term abroad with his students, paralleling the experiences of the son with that of the experiences of a father. In “A Day in Saigon,” a meal leads to memories and in turn a feeling of longing for family. “A young girl/placed a dish of wilted/ bean sprouts and green chillies,/ an extra dish of my favorite mint: one that reminded me/ of a dish my aunts made/ in the Mekong Delta. With chopsticks I shoveled/ the noodles into my mouth,/ shaking off a sleepless night/ of missing wife and child.” Tuon artfully shows how a bowl of noodles can transport you back to where you want to be. In the end, it’s evident that the journey of the son has changed the new father’s perspective on blessings.
The heart of this collection is Tuon’s quest to visit his father’s village, decades after escaping the Cambodian genocide. A refugee son retracing steps through the Mekong Delta and sleeping under the same mosquito nets as the father he can only remember through stories told by others. Tuon’s words are direct and efficient like they were shaped by Cambodian Buddhism or SoCal punk and his poems are brave enough to be honest about both the hypocrisies of the surrounding world and his own inner contradictions. This book has the curiosity to search for the other and the insight to find it within. Tuon’s poems gather a wealth of compassion and tales of family mythology to bring home and share with his young daughter and the readers of this compelling collection.
Because the poems work both as poems and as narrative not every poem has to bear the burden of transcendence. As readers we're simply content to follow the story as it goes, but then we're exhilarated (both because we're prepared and also because we're unprepared) when the uniquely poetic lift-off comes.
More than ever, we need to be reminded of the immigrant's journey - the humanity in all of us regardless of origin; the insight waiting to be gained through each and every one of our journeys.