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Poetry Chinese


by (author) Nanci Lee

Brick Books
Initial publish date
Apr 2022
Chinese, Death, Canadian
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2022
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Apr 2022
    List Price

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2023 J.M. Abraham Atlantic Poetry Award Finalist * 2023 Maxine Tynes Nova Scotia Poetry Award Finalist

Nanci Lee's debut explores 4th Century Su Hui's palindrome of longing. Hsin arises from an ancient Chinese ethical philosophy, less a set of moral standards than an appeal to tune.

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.

About the author

Nanci Lee is a Syrian-Chinese poet and educator based in Mi’kmaki (Nova Scotia). When not writing or playing outdoors, Nanci works for Tatamagouche Centre, a justice-oriented retreat and learning centre focused on learning, gathering, transforming divisiveness through encounter. Nanci’s work has appeared in Contemporary Verse 2, The Malahat Review, Matrix Magazine, The Antigonish Review, The Literary Review of Canada, The Fiddlehead, Rattle Magazine, and This Magazine. Hsin is her first book.

Nanci Lee's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"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." — Alice Burdick, author of Book of Short Sentences and Holler