The Family China

By Ann Shin

The Family China
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In The Family China, her second book of poems, Ann Shin examines the decentering experiences of migration, loss and death, and the impulse to build anew. In five suites threaded through with footnote-like fragments that haunt and ambush the text like memories, the book accrues ... Read more


Overview

In The Family China, her second book of poems, Ann Shin examines the decentering experiences of migration, loss and death, and the impulse to build anew. In five suites threaded through with footnote-like fragments that haunt and ambush the text like memories, the book accrues associations, building and transforming images from poem to poem, creating a layered and cohesive collection that asks daring questions about how we define ourselves. These poems grapple rawly and musically with the profound messiness of human relations; their candour consoles and instructs. The quandaries in The Family China are deeply recognizable. Strung up between fragility and resilience, between naïve hope and domestic disillusionment, between an untenable nostalgia for the pastoral and a deep unease with the global, the voice of these poems is nevertheless determined to find some scrap of a song we can sing in common.

Ann Shin

Shin is a Toronto writer and filmmaker who has been published in anthologies and magazines across Canada and the United States. Her documentaries have garnered international awards at the New York Festival, the Columbus International Festival, and in the National Film Board Reel Diversity Competition. She is currently working on a novel and is also a producer for the Women’s Television Network. Shin’s family immigrated to Canada from Korea in the 1960s. She grew up on a mushroom farm in Langley, BC. She’s liked the communal life ever since and has stayed in villages throughout Europe and Asia. No matter how far you travel, no matter where you end up, Shin believes all you need are a handful of certain rituals to make a place your home. She currently resides in Toronto in a home that’s been subject to an exhaustive and slow renovation.

Reviews

"[An] evocative, impressionistic collection ... Shin is keenly aware of how geography defines and transforms us." -- Leah McLaren, The Globe and Mail

"Dense, but not difficult, Shin's poems deftly navigate the dark waters of history, a river you never step into twice." -- Jonathan Ball, The Winnipeg Review

"That Shin is also a filmmaker is evident in the book's cinematic quality ... there's a strange, frantic unity in [her] vision." -- Phoebe Wang, Arc Poetry Magazine

Ann Shin x-rays the ecstasy and the elegiac of the everyday… [her] poems are ravenous and nourishing.

George Elliott Clarke

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