"Delicate with a restrained touch - a book w/ traditions of the East & a mixture of modern Western"
Updated: Mar 15
We are so honored to have our book, "the CLOUD that fell from the sky," reviewed by Chinese writer, Mr. Liu of Beijing Union University. His review was thorough, poetic, and his analysis was very interesting and insightful, especially from a Chinese perspective.
Mr. Liu was able to juxtapose the exaggeration and the conspicuousness of my costumes that are a part of me being a club kid to the restraint and fragility of my poetry as a writer, depicting the polarities that I have often lived my life ...afterall the truth is what the opposites have in common.
Included below is the original book review in Chinese and then translated into English.
混合体 我是先读了《the CLOUD that fell the sky》这本诗集后，才跑去围观Judy Choi的社交媒体的。这要感谢Julia——有着一颗童心的6岁男孩的妈妈——是她向我介绍了她的表姐。我想，这会在某种程度上影响着我对这本诗集的观感，让我有机会一边阅读一遍想象，而无需受到固有观念的约束。作为一个陌生人，我猜她的朋友们会有与我迥然相异的感受，我相信，观察和倾听一个陌生人对这些文字的感受，对作者来说也是一次有趣的体验。 无论从哪个视角看，这本诗集都充满了作者湿漉漉的情感。作为一个理性主义者，面对人类的情感表达，我更愿意将其理解为一种生理现象。一切都是激素，一切都是递质，谁也逃不掉。但是，这并不影响我体验、欣赏和沉迷于这种情绪的表达中。 Judy和Phoenix的诗歌，总能让我感受到一种彻头彻尾的沦陷，一种两头落空后混合的虚弱。比如她在诗歌中写道： Unable to hold myself up， Yet afraid to fall. 我怕走不出自己，也怕沉入深渊。 这种长着刺的句子，戳在心上就是一滴血——要么上天堂，要么下地狱，被凝固在中间动弹不得才是要命的百爪挠心。而这种双向的混合，始终贯穿了这些作品和暴露出来的人性，无论从书籍的装帧，诗画的设计，还是作者本身的特质。 虽然我没有看见Judy和Phoenix，但是她们的那些bling bling照片，和我那些文字在我心中营造出来的形象，在短时间内难以重叠。书末附带来两个作者的照片，Judy的社交媒体中也有大量她的照片。在这些影像中，夸张的造型和闪亮的服装给人直观感受是张扬而外向的个性，而诗歌中触摸到的却是细腻而内敛的触觉。Judy在诗中写道： I looked inside. Only to find Broken hopes and dreams. 内观自我，那细碎的残骸，曾柔软如梦、满怀希望。
我相信文化存在差异，但我不相信上面的诗句可以经由不同的文化而解读出不同的情感。这是人类的这个物种的共性，与性别和文化无关，与激素和递质无关。 然而正是这些互为矛盾的品质，却在她们身上被她们的经历搅拌成一种有趣的混合体。这种奇妙的混合不仅仅在作者的个性中可以感受，诗集的装帧也表达出相同的暗示。作为一个中国人，只要拿到手里就会毫不费力的看出这本纯英文的诗集使用的是中国传统书籍线装工艺。这种盛行于东亚大陆几百年的装订方式，似乎在向读者强调这是一本有着东方古老的传统气质，和西方现代工业文明的混合。 这里我还要说一下Francis George，这个为诗集配图的摄影师。由于摄影作品占据了诗集的主要面积，这让我一度恍惚，以为这本应是一本摄影画册。其实，我要说这是一本画册也不为过，Francis为这本诗集创作了大量的具有抽象风格的影像作品。我就是伴随着那些混合的各种暗示和隐喻的细节、那些或红或蓝、或明或暗的影调氛围中，阅读着那些文字的。看，这又是另一种半推半就的混合。 承蒙Julia的赏识，让我写一点我的个人感受，于是我又再一次翻开了诗集。在初冬的阳光下阅读这些细碎的文字，眯着眼睛，我想对着书中的Judy和Phoenix小声的说：你们可以像个孩子似的睡了。
Mr. Liu's book review translated into English
I ran to watch Judy Choi's social media after reading the poems from "the CLOUD that fell the sky." Thanks to Julia, the mother of a childlike 6-year-old boy, who introduced me to her cousin. I think this will affect my perception of this collection of poems to a certain extent, giving me the opportunity to read into my imagination without being bound by inherent ideas. As a stranger, I guess her friends will have very different feelings from me. I believe that observing and listening to a stranger's feelings on these words is also an interesting experience for the author.
From any perspective, this book of poetry is full of the author's raw emotions. As a rationalist, in the face of human emotional expression, I prefer to understand it as a physiological phenomenon. Everything is a hormone, everything is a transmitter, and no one can escape. However, this does not affect my experience, appreciation and addiction to this emotional expression.
The poems of Judy and Phoenix always make me feel completely deluged, a kind of weakness mixed with two polarities. For example, she wrote in the following poetry:
"Unable to hold myself up, Yet afraid to fall."
This thorny sentence is a drop of blood in my heart - either to heaven or hell, and being frozen in the middle, cannot be moved. And this two-way mixture always runs through these works, the exposed human nature, no matter from the decoration of books, the design of poetry and painting, or the characteristics of the author itself.
Although I haven't seen Judy and Phoenix, their bling bling photos and the images that the words create in my heart are difficult to overlap in a short time. At the end of the book are photos of the two authors, and Judy's social media also has a lot of photos of her. In these images, the exaggerated shapes and shiny costumes give people a direct impression that they are exaggerated and outgoing, while the poems are delicate with a restrained touch.
Judy wrote in the poem:
"I looked inside. only to find. broken hopes and dreams."
I believe there are cultural differences, but I do not believe that the above verses can interpret different emotions through different cultures. This is the commonality of this species of human beings. It has nothing to do with sex and culture, and has nothing to do with hormones and transmitters.
However, it is these contradictory qualities that have been stirred into an interesting mix by them in their experiences. This marvelous mix is not only felt in the personality of the author, but the styling of the poetry collection also expresses the same hint.
As a Chinese, as long as you have this book in your hands, you can easily see that this pure English poem collection uses traditional Chinese book threading technology. This binding method that has prevailed in East Asia for centuries seems to emphasize to readers that it is a book with ancient traditions of the East and a mixture of modern Western industrial civilization.
Here I also want to talk about Francis George, a photographer who used pictures to interpret the poetry. As the photographic work occupies the main area of the poetry collection, this made me think for a time that this should be a photographic album. In fact, I would like to say that this is an album, Francis has created a large number of abstract style photographic works for this poem collection. I was reading those words in a mixed atmosphere of hints and metaphors, red or blue, or light or dark. Look, this is another half-push mix.
Thanks to Julia's appreciation (of me as a poet) and letting me write a little about my personal feelings, so I've opened myself up to poetry again. Reading these fine texts in the early winter sunshine, squinting, I want to whisper to Judy and Phoenix in the book: "You can sleep like a child."