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The Trees Witness Everything

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781472157454

Price: £10.99

ON SALE: 5th May 2022

Genre: Literature & Literary Studies / Poetry

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‘Impeccable, precise poems, sometimes shocking and strange, but always startling’ Irish Times

A lover of strict form, best-selling poet Victoria Chang turns to compact Japanese waka, powerfully innovating on tradition while continuing her pursuit of one of life’s hardest questions: how to let go.

In The Trees Witness Everything, Victoria Chang reinvigorates language by way of concentration, using constraint to illuminate and free the wild interior. Largely composed in various Japanese syllabic forms called ‘wakas,’ each poem is shaped by pattern and count. This highly original work innovates inside the lineage of great poets including W.S. Merwin, whose poem titles are repurposed as frames and mirrors for the text, stitching past and present in complex dialogue. Chang depicts the smooth, melancholic isolation of the mind while reaching outward to name – with reverence, economy and whimsy – the ache of wanting, the hawk and its shadow, our human urge to hide the minute beneath the light.

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Reviews

Elegant and reflective . . . For those who are grieving and those who have grieved, Chang offers beautiful insights, and a path toward healing
Publisher's Weekly
In this brilliant new collection, Chang continues her exploration of memory and mourning. These are impeccable, precise poems, sometimes shocking and strange, but always startling in their ability to excise an utterance from the depths of grief and longing that is both painful and reverent . . . Chang's crystalline, controlled poems seem etched from deep experience, and move hauntingly between the living and the dead . . . their economy lends them both a sharp detail and a hallucinatory potential, traversing a staggering progress of thought and image across a small number of lines
Sean Hewitt, Irish Times