Quiet Night Think
Poems & Essays
by Gillian Sze
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 05 Apr 2022 | Archive Date 01 Dec 2021
“One function of the poet at any time is to discover by his own thought and feeling what seems to him to be poetry at that time,” writes Wallace Stevens. In Quiet Night Think, award-winning poet Gillian Sze expresses her own definition.
During the remarkable period of early parenthood, Sze’s new maternal role urges her to contemplate her own origins, both familial and artistic. Comprised of six personal essays, poems, and a concluding long poem, Quiet Night Think takes its title from a direct translation of an eighth-century Chinese poem by Li Bai, the subject of the opening essay. Sze’s memory of reading Li Bai’s poem as a child marks the beginning of an unshakable encounter with poetry. What follows is an intimate anatomization of her particular entanglement with languages and cultures.
In her most generically diverse book yet, Sze moves between poetry and prose, mother and writer, the lyrical and the autobiographical, all the while inviting readers to meditate with her on questions of emergence and transformation: What are you trying to be? Where does a word break off? What calls to us throughout the night?
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 10 members
•~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."
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.