Teresa Mei Chuc
Teresa Mei Chuc
Keeper of the Winds
"At times the poetry of Teresa Mei Chuc can be as haunting as the
memories of war. In Keeper of the Winds images explode as if they were
landmines. In this book sadness walks hand in hand with violence. What
makes Teresa Mei Chuc's work important is that her poems are personal
while speaking for other lives. Her work embraces the earthworm as
well as the water buffalo. After tragic events like Fukushima, Teresa
Mei Chuc is still capable of dancing with the brown bear; a dance of
life's celebration. When she writes about nature it is always with
love. Her poetry is a 'spiritual lake' we should cherish and sit close
--E. Ethelbert Miller, author of Fathering Words
"Teresa Mei Chuc's voice on the page--calm and contemplative--lulls
the reader who 'thinks it's a toy they've found' until the horror of
our common histories is manifest and unavoidable. Here is a poet who
simultaneously enchants and terrifies. Here is a poet who demands to
be read--you won't be disappointed."
--Lynne Thompson, Winner, Perugia Press, Book Award for Beg No Pardon
"These are essential poems, brutally honest, courageous, and clear in
their vision, delivered without apology, but with great heart and true
soulfulness. Teresa Mei Chuc challenges us to come face-to-face with
our history, our real and ever-present world."
--Sam Hamill, author of Border Songs
From the introduction:
The Vietnam War, like all wars, is not over. Farmers in Vietnam are still getting their hands blown off by bombs, their children are playing in fields that are still sewn with death, and the ghostly presence of chemical warfare still kills and deforms people. The clear and devastatingly graceful poems of Vietnamese American poet Teresa Mei Chuc tell these stories and others, most of them haunted by the endless ripples of the violence of war.
Yes, there is violence here, devastation, but these stories are told by a tremendously gifted writer who is acutely aware of the beauty of the world and still strong enough to not look away from the vicious insanity of war. It takes great strength to be calm and completely aware, awake, to try to prevent the pathological somnambulists from destroying everything and yet not become bitter and morose. Teresa Mei Chuc has that strength and combined with a graceful lyrical sense she has created poems of real beauty and terror, a significant achievement.
Teresa Mei Chuc has crafted a wonderful book of poems in Keeper of the Winds, on one hand a passionate indictment of war and on the other a lyrical celebration of the whole world. She is a writer to watch.
March 27, 2014
From the book:
The water runs
a neon color
in the village.
All the villagers
are born dead
there is no
proof it was
the father carries
the little body
wrapped in a
She will be buried
with a wooden
with a knife.
There are coffins
that are only
six inches long.
If you place
it will fit.
Self As Kintsukuroi Art
I tell myself
what I could
I am gold as sun
as daffodil petals
and dandelion flowers
gold as rivers
that run along
the sides of this
in the coming
into myself again
I let the
fractures in my heart
be cracks through
which light shines
About the Author
Teresa Mei Chuc was born in Saigon, Vietnam, shortly after the horrendous war that bombed her people and her homeland. She and her family survived, although her parents were separated for a long time. Chuc, her brother, and their mother escaped Vietnam in a ship crowded with hungry, sick, and frightened immigrants. Under political asylum, they settled in California, where eventually they were reunited with her father, who had spent nine years in a Vietcong "re-education" camp.
Chuc writes about war and her personal and family history. Out of her personal history, beyond her cultural heritage, and apart from her family, Chuc finds her own individuality in her poems.
Nominated for a Pushcart Prize for "Truth is Black Rubber," a section of poems from Red Thread
, Teresa Mei Chuc is a graduate of the Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing program at Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont, and teaches literature and writing at a public school. Her poems appear in journals including EarthSpeak Magazine
, Hawai'i Pacific Review, Kyoto Journal, The National Poetry Review
, and Verse Daily. Chuc is the founder and editor-in-chief of Shabda Press. She lives with her three sons in Southern California. Visit Teresa Mei Chuc at www.tue-wai.com
Keeper of the Winds
is a 52 page hand-sewn paperbook with spine - $14.00.
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