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Categories: 21st Century, American, BAME, British, Humour, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (64 pages)
(Pub. Mar 2019)
eBook (EPUB) Needs ADE!
(Pub. Mar 2019)
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A Poetry Book Society Spring 2019 RecommendationIn Discipline, her third collection, Jane Yeh depicts a haunting and hilarious variety of lives, from an endangered young rhinoceros to the denizens of the 1980s New York club scene. These multifaceted poems explore what identity isn’t and is, as performance, as struggle, as change, as art, with penetrating wit, channeling the voices of outsiders, artists, misfits, and others. Discipline inhabits the space between the real and the surreal, a mash-up of deadpan humour and heartbreaking imagery where novelty T-shirts and lady astronaut centaurs can coexist. The poems are triggered by videos, paintings and installations by contemporary artists, animals and city life. They bristle with striking details and observations. Imaginary landscapes converge with episodes from recent history: power, resistance and the structures of oppression are seen inexorably in operation. These miniature dramas perform their own autopsies: ‘Sweet, then sour. My lips the colour of Doubt’.
A Hyperallergic Book of the Year 2020
Awards won by Jane Yeh Commended, 2019 Poetry Book Society Recommendation (Discipline) Short-listed, 2005 Whitbread Poetry Prize (Marabou) Short-listed, 2005 Forward Poetry Prize for the Best First Collection
(Marabou) Winner, 2012 Girton College Jane Martin Prize
'Density and nuance dancing together in precise flights of the imagination are the hallmarks of Yeh's poetry.'
John Yau, Hyperallergic Books of the Year 2020
Yeh's use of irony and the surreal is always, at its best, counterbalanced with emotional weight. Like Chelsey Minnis, she uses the interplay of imagery to upset and interrogate cultural hierarchies. The virtuoso, often slapstick, performance of these poems doesn't belie the seriousness, or the razor-sharp vision, of this collection.
'Yeh pulls back the lens of aestheticised perfection to show the world as it really stands. Each time we think we have a handle of Yeh's poems, and expectation of what they might do, she wrong-foots us; so we must begin again, and join her in interrogating patriarchal and elitist notions of what poetry is, what it can do, and what it should include.'
Jenna Clarke, The Compass
Kate Potts, Poetry London
Yeh is a poet of imaginative transformation who creates worlds that borrow from art, fashion, the internet, and pop culture [...] this is an impressive book that I hope will be influential and widely read. Continual surprises, when coupled with the compression of her best poems, are why Discipline reads so well. Yeh's mastery of this tension rewards rereading over and over. Like a child at the bottom of a slide, I found myself wanting to start again as soon as I'd finished.'
Matthew Valades, Quarterly West
'Such poems capture the universality of loneliness, the daily negotiations we make with our given bodily 'identities', and our desire to connect with other living beings, imperfect as those connections may be'
Kathryn Maris, Times Literary Supplement
'Humour and linguistic dynamism, mainstream and counterculture, brush up against each other in Yeh's poetry'
Rob A. Mackenzie, Magma
'Every word, image and space is arranged just so, and you can almost detect the hand of the poet making the final tweak'
Edwina Attlee, The Poetry Review, Summer 2019
'Across her collections, Yeh affords much time and empathy...in sketching these ostensibly comic figures with idiosyncrasies and surprising expressions of fears, desires or dreams they come far closer to the reader than their technicolour exteriors might suggest...What stands out most for me about Yeh's work is its generosity, or rather its un-self-centredness. It takes a serious openness of heart to be so willing to appear so ludicrous, to so consistently prioritise the playful and culturally communal, to keep, as she demands of the poets she critiques herself, the time, energy and experience of reader to the fore of one's aesthetics.'
Dave Coates, Dave Poems
'Like the paintings of Kirsten Glass that inspire Discipline's title poem, Yeh shows that the elegant and the macabre are never far apart.'
Ben Wilkinson, The Guardian
'Discipline' offers an array of dark humour and electric wit...Yeh exposes the vanity of our emotional weight. The result is liberating and, yes, deeply funny.'
Sandeep Parmar, PBS Spring Bulletin 2019
'"Haunting and hilarious" explorations of identity and performance prompted by videos and paintings, animals and street life.'
The Guardian - '2019 in books: what you'll be reading this year'
Praise for Jane Yeh 'Marabou is fresh and surprising. If only all first books were this unusual.'
Stephen Knight, the Independent on Sunday 'She is a brilliant technician. Her acute visual sensibility, the sensuousness of her descriptions, her gift for the creation of striking metaphors, her sensitive orchestration of sounds and the precision of her thought are all rich sources of pleasure for the reader.'
Edmund Prestwich, Acumen 'Jane Yeh's The Ninjas is as unsettling and funny as its cover image... One is tempted to gobble down the exquisite poems one after another...'
Sarah Coles, New Welsh Review 'The Ninjas is profound, funny and sad, reminding us that humans and androids are lonely and need love, and that attention to detail and kindness to animals can make a better world. This quirky and wise collection has outstanding originality and poise.'
Aingeal Clare, Guardian
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