Poetry Thursdays: Sarah Howe

Ever since I began researching poets for our Poetry Thursdays series here on Modern Vintage Life, I’ve come across a ton of really inspiring non-US poets. (You might’ve seen Joy’s post on Rupi Kaur, who calls Canada home.) I’m not sure if any of my research is lending itself particularly poorly to discovering new American poets, but this little list I created of artists to share with you is quite international. This week, I’m inspired by British poet Sarah Howe, who recently won the TS Eliot Prize with her 2015 book Loop of Jade.

Poetry Thursdays

Photo: madelyn * persisting stars

Howe’s language somehow sits on your tongue at the same time moving freely from it. I’m not one to think that all storytelling should have a relatable narrative, but in The Walled Garden, my first reading was interrupted by all of the ‘yes’s my mind was uttering, and I had to work hard to silence my own thoughts of school yards and classrooms and walking home. Once I reread and reread, I was able to tap into her experience rather than my surface memories.

As far as Loop of Jade, Howe’s first collection, covers family, place, and love, as explores her heritage in Hong Kong. To get a feel for what the book presents, here’s an audio of Mother’s Jewellery Box, although if it resonates with you, be warned, many of the other poems have much more of a prose-influenced feel.

Read select poems via the links on her website.

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