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November 2001
136 pages  

6 x 9
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The Land of Bliss
Song, Cathy
The fourth collection from an award-winning poet that examines our ability to create our own misery and our own happiness.
Cathy Song is the author of four previous books of poetry: Picture Bride, winner of the Yale Younger Poets prize; Frameless Windows, Squares of Light; School Figures; and The Land of Bliss.
“In Cathy Song's poetry I keep recognizing my own various approaches to and avoidances of the writing job: the just claims which keep me from it, my need to hide my meaning at the same time as I reveal it, the need to go, 'deeper into the darkest room,' trying to reach 'the core of something permanent,' and what always accompanies that need—'distraction itself . . . obstacles to keep her from entering the last room,' wanting and not wanting to arrive there. . . . Houses and the imagery of houses—doors, curtains, kitchens, windows, rooms—are important in Song's work. I am tempted to think this is a natural outcome of a female take on experience, though maybe it's only my own desire for security and shelter.”—Phyllis Hoge

“To read poems as true on the tongue and the eye as these is a deep, transcendent sweetness. I feel transported, restored to gravity-ground, melodious mind.”—Naomi Shihab Nye

"To follow Cathy Song's collection of poems over the years is to reach, in this season, ‘The Expense of Mildew’; from daughter, to wife and mother, to the daughter of aging parents, Song has arrived full spiral. This is bliss."—Kimiko Hahn

“Song writes culturally fascinating work that at its best displays a superb mastery of craft...she magnificently intertwines the harsh reality of her aging parents (including a mother frequently hospitalized for depression) with memories of her grandparents.”—Rochelle Ratner, Library Journal, Dec. 2001

“In a collection displaying mastery of language and imagery, Cathy Song’s ‘The Land of Bliss’ explores with often painful clarity the yin and yang of living our humanity.”—Joleen Oshiro, Honolulu Star Bulletin

“Cathy Song ... is rapidly becoming a major poet. Her new poems have a genuine hard edge as she explores the multicultural voices of Hawaii.”—Joel Gersmann, Isthmus, 12/7/01

“In its entirety, ‘The Land of Bliss’ actively reformulates received notions of culture (dominant and ‘minority’) as well as of language. . . .Song’s powers of description, as well as her range of poetic rhythms . . . enable her to fully integrate the autobiographical, the social, and the spiritual enlightenment in the form of compassion.” —Jocelyn Emerson, American Book Review, Nov-Dec 2002

Complete Description Reviews
Pitt Poetry Series Table of Contents
Poetry Read a selection from this book

Cathy Song’s fourth collection of poetry unveils glimpses of the elusive but ever-present power of wisdom and compassion. Recognizing that we have the ability to create our own misery as well as our own bliss, she finds the unexpected in broken lives, despair, and even seemingly joyous occasions. Song’s poems are often, like a handful of water, "cold and impossibly / clear, unlike anything / you’ve ever held before."


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