22 Debut Canadian poetry collections to read, CBC 2022
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.