It is not easy to review a book, especially a book of poetry. I have only reviewed one book “The River’s Stone Roots” by James Deahl. The reason he asked me, I guess, is that I am a poet who knows Chinese and English. I must confess it was a tough task and I was glad that he was happy about my review (published by Hammered Out in 2007). Since then, we have exchanged news through email, but we haven’t met each other. Next week I will meet him and other good poets/writers: Colombo, Gatenby, Cook, Fiorito who I have heard from newspapers, at the event for Ray Souster.My poetry book “Wings Toward Sunlight” was launched in Mar, 2011. I was glad and grateful that John. B .Lee wrote the preface and Terry Barker wrote the introduction for this book. They wrote very well and covered different angles of analyses and interpretations. But since there are tons of books out for review. I wondered who would like to take challenge to review my book. Still my publisher and I mailed ten copies to different poetry magazines to see if they were interested. As you can imagine, these copies sank into bottom. But I did get very good feedback from other readers. Mona said she read my book three times, each time she got another view of my poetry. Byron said, “A number of poems in your collection have stuck in my mind and I keep revisiting them to re-read. It’s in the way the imagery as I read them aloud, takes on a tangible quality in that I relate to these. I very much enjoyed your imagery, the storytelling in such compact spaces. The moving glances of events and impressions in passing. The reflections of the past and their impact on the present… Your work is a pleasure to experience.” As for book review, I hesitate to inquire, knowing it is a big job. But I am glad that two poets offer to review it . LOIS P. JONES, a wonderful poet we met on a poetry workshop forum in USA, loves my poetry and did a stunning review. It was accepted to be published on Loch Raven Review for fall/winter issue. My editor and publisher are eager to see it out… But right now we must wait. (In fact, Lois’ review is so good, to tell you the truth, I hate to wait…) Reid is my new friend (a poet/editor). He visited Toronto this summer for his poetry book. We had a very short meeting at downtown and I gave him my book. The next day, he told me that he loved my book and wanted to review it. I was very glad. Last night, I got his email to say that he must do it although he was very busy and had a difficulty to find the right flow to write, “There’s a pattern, Anna. You (we) just don’t recognize it yet. I have twenty pages of notes now to boil into a short review. I may be the first Anna Yin scholar! It’s worth it. You are a wonderful poet. You do things so (seemingly) easily that other poets would have to knock down walls, bring in work crews, and make a racket. The more I study, the more I am flabbergasted how you effortlessly (perhaps) slide from level to level of meaning–literally, psychological, symbolic–like a ghost walking through walls. The wall is still there–you are here–no, you’re gone. A glimmer on the water, the shine of the moon on ripples–that’s you.” I know to review a book is a difficult task. But I think eventually Reid will surprise us by doing this. Who knows? I tell him that I am open to any critique…Sure, that needs guts. I believe we both have. That is the same poet in another email said, “I think You are far more like Emily Dickinson than you are like Sylvia Plath”
Here is the title poem from my book “Wings Toward Sunlight” Why I Carry You, Mirror They say I look more
at you than the fire.They say I am more
like Plath than Dickinson.Cold, do you agree?
A lake of silence.Silver and exact,
a subdued cell—
Plath swallowed within,
her dark robe hangs
in the bleak space.
Night falls to shut windows.
From room to room
I carry you
the tiny heart
of a hummingbird.
Now you settle here in my poem—
rains fall over you,
wings toward sunlight.