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Tung-Hui Hu
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Tung-Hui Hu

Something has happened here: An empire has gone to seed, an entire country goes on strike, people begin eating dirt and flowers, and a couple lives on a riverboat to avoid the ground. In Mine, Tung-Hui Hu makes myths out of the personal. He speaks of desire and awkwardness and the earth that contains both. Resonant, blunt, and sharply intelligent, this is writing that excavates.

As history unfolds over and over the same geography, these poems become, as Hu has written, “practice for the living.” The book grows out of the poet's interest in how the histories we extract from the land become interlaced with our identity. The book asks, Where do we come from? But also, How do we make amends?

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Eisner Prize

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For Mine, Tung-Hui Hu


“This fresh and unexpected poet extends the lyric into the social space without losing any of song’s intensity or mystery, so that these casually elegant, affecting poems feel as interior as they are worldly.”—Mark Doty

“Pound said that poetry should be as well written as prose. [Mine,] composed of translucent and sinewy sentences set in loosely cascading lines, shows a range of subject matter (history, empire, mythic epilogues) unavailable to more lyrical poets. These poems explore life outside the self. Many take up a narrative ‘he’ or ‘she,’ or a choral, colonial ‘we.’ When the lyric ‘I’ does appear, couched in stories composed from reading as from experience, it too seems to be merely another persona. The result is something other than fiction or history or myth. It is a poetry composed of figments of reality.”—Citation for the Eisner Prize

“Tung-Hui Hu’s second book of poetry, Mine, is a confident, artful collection—sophisticated and persuasive, memorable and tight…Hu strings images together and builds, in poem after poem, to thoughtful, nimble, resonant conclusions that have an enormous amount of authority…While each piece works wonderfully alone, and together they show an impressive virtuosity, ranging energetically in topic and form (from California earthquakes to 18th century vignettes to Odysseus, and from the prose poem to the extended meditation to the spare and airy lyric), as a collection, all the poems have in common is a refusal to be pinned down to a consistent persona or agenda (beyond their vaguely post-colonial skepticism of such consistency). At the same time, Mine also has a syntactical poise and a purity of thought that belie its instability; the poet is seductively quite sure of his unsureness, and it is the strength of these two forces—his certainty and his skepticism, his polish and his constant movement—that keep the poems, at their best, taut and emphatic…The combination of such an investigative, open minded approach and Hu’s jewel-like control of imagery and structure make Mine, indeed, a truly innovative and impressive collection. It is not explained easily, and after many readings, its inherent energy has not at all diminished. It is often stunning and always memorable. Hu is clearly a poet of enormous talent.”—Rain Taxi Review of Books

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