Friday, July 03, 2009

PN Review and Chroma

Six of my "Translations of an Unknown Mexican Poet" appear in PN Review 188 (July-August 2009). The current issue is not online, but you can buy it there. If you subscribe to the website, you will find a rich archive of past issues. I am inordinately pleased about this publication. I do see myself writing primarily in, and out of, the English poetic tradition (hello, Shakespeare, Keats, Auden, Larkin, and Gunn!), and this publication makes a private conversation public to an English readership. Serendipitously, the "Translations" are written in the form of English sonnets.

A British connection: Chroma, Britain's leading gay lit/art journal, published a long, glowing review of Ganymede #4. It mentions generously all photographers and writers, and this is what it says about my poems:

It’s fitting that Jee Leong Koh’s poetry follows after Panichi’s photographs as Koh is in a dialogue with the visual arts as well. Simmering with violence and bodily harm, Koh’s poetry hints at a dangerous past that makes itself felt in the movements of everyday life. Some of this poetry also seeks to create a self portrait while referring to specific artists, filtering their style into the poet’s unique form of self expression. Within his poems the body is annihilated to declare an individual is not simply defined by his physical form alone. Koh skilfully uses his artistic ancestors as a touchstone to understand himself.

The poems the reviewer read are "Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion," "Supper at le Monde" and "Seven Studies for a Self-Portrait." I am not sure how he detected "the body is annihilated to declare an individual is not simply defined by his physical form alone," since such a declaration is not part of my intention. In fact, my poetry doesn't make any declarations. How can I when I am still busy investigating?


Eshuneutics said...

Hi, Jee, have just read your poems in print in PN Review. They look wonderful. Congratulations.

Jee Leong Koh said...

Thanks very much. Your opinion means a lot to me.