Cold Sleep Permanent Afternoon, the follow-up to Ray Hsu's award-winning first collection, Anthropy, is the second book in a prospective trilogy that explores the "grammar of personhood."
Whereas Anthropy approached the human condition through the prism of first-, second- and third-person perspectives, Cold Sleep Permanent Afternoon uses the grammatical concepts of singular and plural as grid-lines to chart contemporary life and concerns both harrowing and humane. Extending from this principal division, Hsu explores the borders between civic engagement and domesticity, dissent and accord, freedom and restriction--each of these are tested against another and framed by the tension between the collective and the individual. With Cold Sleep Permanent Afternoon, Ray Hsu presents our landscape in stark light,confronting the human drama that is manifesting within our lives,and investigating how we make sense of ourselves and the world we have wrought.
The brief yet memorable poems offer glimpses into the day-to-day drama of the human condition, with particular focus on the borders that divide harmony and dissent, and the seeds of conflict that grow amid strife between individuals and society as a whole. A thoughtful and provocative compilation, that lingers in the mind and spirit long after being read.
?The Midwest Book Review
Through startling images ("Birds swing into the milk / sky like tiny rags"), Hsu investigates influences that are at once internally and culturally imposed: "Am I filling in this form / or filling it out?"...These are complex reflections on the "intricate want" of selfhood, absolutely uncaged in desire with an inquisition that is more choral than solipsistic.
?Jennifer Still, Winnipeg Free Press
Clearly, this is not ... your regular poetry book but, rather, one that is intended to take you out of your complacency by challenging your expectations ... Hsu brings to mind the writings of Anne Carson, as both have sought to bridge the divide between genres, both in their own way and both quite successfully.
?John Herbert Cunningham, Prairie Fire