Review #2: ‘Debts & Lessons’ by Lynn Xu

  • PUBLISHED BY: Omnidawn, 2013
  • REVIEW BY: Timothy Liu

lynn xu debts and lessons

So you know this debut is up for a L.A. Times Book Prize, right?—which would be reason enough to peruse/pursue the thing—and what that’s like is pretty much like reading seven chapbooks in a row, lyrically minimal where the Tang Dynasty beds down with Fin-de-Siecle Surrealism (not to mention the whole tradition of English-language poetry), all of it cushioned with plenty of white space—the nouns ethereal, continental, free of eBay—hymns for the impure of travelled hearts lost and found in mistranslation.

Disclosure: LX and hubby JE have this habit of swarming down without warning, leaving one completely feathered in yellow.

Favorites: “Say You Will Die For Me,” Night Falls, “Lullabies” (including the utter gem of an End Note for the poem dedicated to Dickinson).

–Timothy Liu