Heart-mind and nothingness are fair English translations of Hsin, but their tidiness risks losing some of the sharper, wider sides of absence and appetite. As a historical process, according to Hang Thaddeus T’ui-Chieh, Hsin frustrates, “the psychological fragmentation and compartmentalization of the West.”
Born to a Syrian father and a Chinese mother, who gave her up for adoption, Lee explores her origins in a compendium of poem fragments where form embraces the process of its unfolding. These are Koan-like poems, resonant with tones at turns ageless and contemporary; Hsin holds silence in ways that both claim and keep at bay.
Praise for Hsin:
“In Hsin, Nanci Lee operates on a high frequency of language and ideas, a booksong of grief and celebration. In these poems, there is a straight-talking glamour that delights and surprises the reader. The exciting variety of forms and routes in Hsin shows how technique leads to a deep emotional intelligence. It’s a fierce map of existential humour and wonder, which makes it an essential exploration of identity.” — Alice Burdick, author of Book of Short Sentences and Holler
22 debut Canadian poetry collections to read for National Poetry Month — CBC