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Eye Level. Poems by Jenny Xie

Jenny Xie’s award-winning debut, Eye Level, takes us far and near, to Phnom Penh, Corfu, Hanoi, New York, and elsewhere, as we travel closer and closer to the acutely felt solitude that centers this searching, moving collection.

“Magnificent . . . [Jenny Xie] braids in the lonesomeness and sorrow of being unmoored and on your own.”—The Paris Review, Staff Picks

Animated by a restless inner questioning, these poems meditate on the forces that moor the self and set it in motion, from immigration to travel to estranging losses and departures. The sensual worlds here―colors, smells, tastes, and changing landscapes―bring to life questions about the self as seer and the self as seen.

As Xie writes, “Me? I’m just here in my traveler’s clothes, trying on each passing town for size.” Her taut, elusive poems exult in a life simultaneously crowded and quiet, caught in between things and places, and never quite entirely at home. Xie is a poet of extraordinary perception―both to the tangible world and to “all that is untouchable as far as the eye can reach.”

Jenny Xie was born in Hefei, China, and raised in New Jersey. She holds degrees from Princeton University and New York University, and has received fellowships and support from Kundiman, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Elizabeth George Foundation, and Poets & Writers. She is the recipient of the 2017 Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets for Eye Level and the 2016 Drinking Gourd Chapbook Prize for Nowhere to Arrive. Her poems have appeared in the American Poetry Review, Harvard Review, the New Republic, Tin House, and elsewhere. She teaches at New York University.

 

“For years now, I’ve been using the wrong palette.
Each year with its itchy blue, as the bruise of solitude reaches its expiration date.

Planes and buses, guesthouse to guesthouse.

I’ve gotten to where I am by dint of my poor eyesight,
my overreactive motion sickness.

9 p.m., Hanoi’s Old Quarter: duck porridge and plum wine.

Voices outside the door come to a soft boil.”

(from “Phnom Penh Diptych: Dry Season”)

 

Title Eye Level
Subtitle Poems
Author Jenny Xie
Publisher Graywolf Press
Format Paperback
ISBN-10 1555978029
ISBN-13 9781555978020
Publication Date 03 April 2018
Main content page count 80
$16.00

new poetry
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