Sage: Poems (Hardcover)
A rebellious, refined, provocative, and audacious volume from award-winning poet Marilyn Chin.
In her galvanizing sixth collection of poems, Marilyn Chin once again turns moral outrage into unforgettable art. A rambunctious take on our contemporary condition, Sage shifts skillfully in tone and register from powerful poems on social justice and the pandemic to Daoist wild girl satire.
A self-described "activist-subversive-radical-immigrant-feminist-transnational-Buddhist-neoclassical-nerd poet," Chin is always reinventing herself. In Sage, she sings fearless identity anthems, pulls farcical details from an old diary, and confronts the disturbing rise in violence against Asian Americans. Leaping between colloquialisms and vivid imagery, anger and humor, she merges the personal and political with singular, resilient spirit.
Whether she is spinning tall tales, mixing Chinese poems with hip-hop rhymes, reinventing lovelorn folk songs with a new-world anxiety, or penning a raucous birthday poem, a heartrending elegy, or an "un-gratitude" prayer, Chin offers dazzling surprises at every turn.
About the Author
Marilyn Chin was born in Hong Kong. She is the author of five previous poetry collections and a novel. Her work has appeared in The Norton Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, The Norton Anthology of Literature by Women, and Best American Poetry, among other publications. She is the recipient of the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize for lifetime achievement, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, the PEN/Josephine Miles Literary Award, and fellowships from the United States Artists Foundation and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, among other honors. A chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, she lives in San Diego, California.
[Marilyn] Chin writes with a fierce vulnerability. Sharing her deeply personal yet relatable experience during the pandemic, Sage is a window to the intense musings of a longtime activist poet that never rests. Both sage and succulent, [Chin] is a poet that holds your hand while she spins you at 100mph. Sage leaves you dazed and breathless, a profound feeling that stays with you, long after you’ve finished reading.
— Thi Nguyen - Poetry Society of America
At the height of her poetic powers, Marilyn Chin channels Sage, alter ego, orator of sins, praise, urgency, and truth. There is a sharp edge at the end of each epiphany, as fine as a needle, edging close to the heart. Chin approaches national subjects such as democracy, immigration, and injustice as well as the quieter interior subject of artistic creation. Sage is a brazen songstress who 'enters the doorless door and breaks the knob,' and by all accounts is as tender as she is powerful, vulnerable as well as mighty. Sage reveals our 21st century complexities, straddling ruin and utter magic.
— Tina Chang, author of Hybrida
Marilyn Chin’s sharp-witted and fresh sixth collection, Sage, speaks to the current moment with the gravitas, humor, and bite missing from many a pandemic-born collection.
— Rebecca Morgan Frank - LitHub
Chin is an accomplished poet, and she bends the rules to her advantage. Her gorgeous poems make vivid points about identity, life, death, conflict, and art.
— Alta Journal
A kaleidoscopic, mesmerizing, playful collection of beauty in the vernacular, Sage weaves together [Marilyn Chin's] knowledge of ancient traditions and American popular culture. Chin’s gifts of Daoist humor, literary scholarship, and, above all, poetic experimentation attest to her attention to form and rebellion. Chin’s poetry celebrates, grieves, and even mocks human seriousness about our limited time on earth. She is a poet who witnesses our violences, joys, and human foibles and demands that we do not look away.
— Pamela J. Rader - Rocky Mountain Review