Thursday, January 4, 2018

Dictee --by Theresa Hak Kyung Cha

192 Pages
5 Stars

I am not at all sure what to say, or how to review this book. I bought it, expecting an essay, or perhaps a book of essays, having read Errato     Love Poetry by Cha in The Next American Essay (my review here: That essay, or excerpt from Dictee, was a mind-blowing experience, so I immediately ordered Dictee. It arrived the other day.

Is it poetry? Is it prose poetry? Is it an essay? Is it hybrid? I have no idea. It is beautiful. It is mind-blowing. I finally chose to read it as poetry and put the line breaks in (mentally) where I thought they belonged. It became, for me, easier to read, and quite enjoyable.

This book is probably not for everyone, but for readers and or poets who like experimentation, new ideas, new ways of thinking and reading and writing, this book is marvelous. Read it as play. As one reviewer advised, buy this book. Flip through the pages, leave it on the shelf, repeat after a few days or even weeks, maybe, I don't know, 3 or 4 times. Live with it. Then invite it out to dinner, a small, intimate tête-à-tête, just the two of you and a glass of wine. The wait, and the anticipation, will make it worth the while.

Two things about this book I found somewhat frustrating. There are a great many black & white photos, and I wanted to know who or what they were. And Ms Cha was murdered, I believe the week this book was released, so treasure it when you buy it. It's her last book. Her death is tragic and our loss is deep.

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