Naming a Fish by Reid Mitchell (Review of “Wings Toward Sunlight”)

Book Review on Cha Magazine (Hongkong)“I am just an indifferent fish,
not concerned with extended life.
Air is what I swallow.
At present, I need only this.” 
A few plain words from Anna Yin—nothing fancy, nothing unparseable—and we are already at sea. She only asks us for air, the not-empty space around us. She only asks to breathe around us but strongly suspects this will be denied. She presents herself to us as the eternal immigrant, the eternal foreigner, the eternal wife. So quiet, so humble, so intent on demanding her place through image and language and metaphor. At present she needs only enough air to create a world for us. 
On terra firma, Anna Yin might best be characterized as a Chinese poet who writes in English.  She is also a Canadian poet, but her sensibility and approach to poetry is grounded in China’s literary tradition, particularly the short Chinese lyric.  She employs simple language, simple diction, simple syntax. But her poems are not simple.  After all, dreams often use no words at all.  Most of Yin’s poems have an easily accessible surface meaning, but at her farthermost extremes, she is mythopoetic.  Our common, almost domesticated, natural world provides most of the symbols for her mythmaking.  Continuing to read this review
 
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