Cover Image: Quiet Night Think

Quiet Night Think

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Member Reviews

Canadian author Gilligan Sze in her new book shares with us her  insights  into ancient chinese poetry and how hard it is to render condensed chinese verse into  fluid english.  She admonishes us that  poetry is not just   words but experiences. She adds the expectations  of new motherhood with moments of travail and joy against the background of her family’s chinese customs that hover over pregnancy and her seclusion  after birth.   And all of this in the harsh winter of Toronto.  I am well aware of this since my wife is  asian and after our first child I prepared a fresh chicken from the chinese  market using a Cantonese recipe given by a friend. Health and safety of both the mother and child is foremost. She also displays a hearty sense of humor when she relates her mothers misunderstanding of english words and tells a guest “Do you have the eyes or the balls of a wasp.”  I thorougly enjoyed the book and will most certainly add it to my collection.  Just the thing to take on a trip, to read in our cloistered  pandemic routine with masks and Covid or give as a gift.
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I can't wait to introduce my writing students to this book! Gillian Sze offers a gorgeous collection of meditations on writing and the writing life alongside extraordinary poems about parenting, parents, observing, daily life, nature, and more. Drawing on traditional Chinese poetry as well as Western poets like William Carlos Williams, she presents thoughtful, informative, and evocative essays and works to be savored by any practitioner of writing.
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Sze studies poetry with an eye to linguistics, and her heritage only leads to more interesting dissections of the language we use in the English language. As someone who wasn't quite accepted for choosing to major in English and Education, I connect with many of her comments from family and reluctance from others. I'm always looking for works by diverse authors with an eye to literature, and this scratches that urge to read pretty well. If you're interested in how language works in regard to poetry and the phrases we use around society and motherhood, this one's for you.
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*I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion. All thoughts and opinions are my own*

I thought the structure of this collection of poetry was interesting and thought provoking in how it combined traditional story telling but also poetry into one piece. I felt like I knew the authors story at the end of reading this collection.

The structure was not my favourite, as I wish there has been more frequent smaller pieces to break up the larger "life" portions of this collection. The pieces that resonated with me most were the importance of family and how that has shaped the author as they have grown and matured.
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This was a great collection of poetry prose. The collection focused on Gillian’s life, heritage, motherhood, school/career. Some of the essays were a bit long, but I wouldn’t say that it took away from the collection. 

My favorite piece was Fricatives (A Visit). I also enjoyed the poems and prose about what motherhood was/is like for her. She wrote about family and cultural traditions regarding pregnancy and postpartum care.
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•~Book Review~•
"𝐁𝐞𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐦𝐲 𝐛𝐞𝐝, 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐦𝐨𝐨𝐧 𝐢𝐬 𝐬𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐛𝐫𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭,
𝐈 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐤 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐢𝐬 𝐟𝐫𝐨𝐬𝐭 𝐮𝐩𝐨𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐠𝐫𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐝.
𝐈 𝐫𝐚𝐢𝐬𝐞 𝐦𝐲 𝐡𝐞𝐚𝐝 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐥𝐨𝐨𝐤 𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐛𝐫𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭 𝐦𝐨𝐨𝐧,
𝐈 𝐥𝐨𝐰𝐞𝐫 𝐦𝐲 𝐡𝐞𝐚𝐝 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐤 𝐨𝐟 𝐡𝐨𝐦𝐞."

Gillian Sze's new poetry and prose book 'quiet night think' is her meditation on her roots, language, family and on being a mother and a writer. 
The poems and proses keep revolving around her life and focuses subtly on the anatomy of her being with respect to being a mother to two children, being a daughter, her ethnicity and the world around her. Her lucid contemplative tone prods the reader to think about their own lives. 
Her words talk about existence and transformation and brings in a soothing melancholic touch to them, this book is beautifully human, soft and heart tugging and introspective. 
I think this is absolutely one of my favourite books and I'd never stop recommending it. It's subtle nuances has touched my heart and I think I haven't felt it for a long time. I'll keep this book with me forever, cherishing every words that she has written, feeling them in my core.
This is a small space and I have so much to say. It feels abruptly short and my heart aches for it. I think I'll sing about it forever. 

"𝐖𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐈 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐬𝐦𝐚𝐥𝐥, 𝐦𝐲 𝐟𝐚𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐭𝐨𝐥𝐝 𝐦𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐞𝐜𝐫𝐞𝐭 𝐭𝐨 𝐚 𝐥𝐨𝐧𝐠 𝐥𝐢𝐟𝐞:
𝐈𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐝𝐚𝐲𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐰𝐢𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐫, 𝐞𝐚𝐭 𝐰𝐡𝐢𝐭𝐞 𝐫𝐚𝐝𝐝𝐢𝐬𝐡. 
𝐈𝐧 𝐬𝐮𝐦𝐦𝐞𝐫,𝐞𝐚𝐭 𝐠𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐞𝐫."
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*I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review from the publisher and Netgalley.*

This will be another short review.

I didn’t love it and I didn’t hate it. The essays are quite lengthy and I found it hard to stay focused on them, but there were a few poems that I liked and didn’t have trouble reading. I don’t particularly dislike her poetry style, but I wish the book had more poetry and less essays. I feel like I learned a lot about the author through this book though and I can say she definitely has talent. I’m not sure if it was just the online copy I received, but some of the pieces were written sideways and I didn’t like that. I’m not sure if it was intentional, but I found it kind of annoying. Most of her poems are personal memories, but are written in such a way that you could relate to pieces of them. Again, I didn’t love it but I didn’t hate it. And what I mean is, I didn’t find myself saying “wow” very often.
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Thank you NetGalley for the chance to read and review this ARC!

I loved this collection of poems and essays. The essays were outstanding, and for the most part I loved them more than Gillian Szes poems. But the Fricatives (A Visit) pieces were lovely and full of emotion. I’m definitely reading more by her in the future!
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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for approving me for this arc! 

I really enjoyed this poem and essay collection, it was different for me but refreshing.
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I was quite misled on this one - i thought it was poetry but it’s a lot more than that. It was so interesting to learn more about chinese culture. I’d recommend this if you fancy a non fiction read diving into chinese culture
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