University of Akron Press
In a daring first book that challenges contemporary poetic practice and pieties, Anita Feng speaks in a voice completely different from her own, submerging her gender, race, and nationality in these powerful and sensitive poems. In Internal Strategies, she tells the story of her husband, Xiao Ge Feng, who was born at the outset of communist rule in Beijing, China, and grew up on succeeding waves a patriotic fervor, disillusionmnent, disaster, and inner strength. These poems, in Ms. Feng's convincing rendering of Xiao Ge's voice, follow the course of his life from severe childhood illness to forced labor in Manchuria, through factory work and his efforts to educate himself, to his immigration to the United States for study at a university where he met and married the author. Against the backdrop of China's ancient customs and recent political history, Internal Strategies goes beyond a narrative of one man's struggle into serious issues of cultural and personal identity. Anita Feng's poems pose such essential questions as
what are the perimeters of experience
to whom does history belong,
even as they brilliantly transcend the topical events out of which they arise, combining fact and lyric imagery to animate a single life and an entire world.
A native of Detroit, Anita Feng now lives in Champaign, Illinois, where she is a ceramic artist. She earned her B.A. in English and her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Brown University. Among her awards are the Pablo Neruda Prize and an NEA Fellowship.