I’ve heard it said that a true poet regularly gives readings, publishes and lives for his poetry. Everything the poet does influences, is influenced by and is connected to his poetry. This description fits my dear friend Jee Leong Koh. I’ve known this since we became friends in graduate school at Sarah Lawrence College. His thoughtful and tender responses to the world in his poetry will bring you to a quiet place of understanding. His formal poems will teach you craft. Simply put, you’ll enjoy your time with his words.
To be eligible to win Jee Leong Koh’s first full-length collection, Equal to the Earth, share this blog’s link (http://chloeyelenamiller.blogspot.com/) with friends and comment here. The contest ends at midnight EST on Tuesday, February 2. The winner’s name will be drawn out of a top hat on Wednesday, February 3.
1. Link to this blog online and share something about the blog with your friends. You can do this on your website, blog, Facebook profile, Twitter account, LinkedIn update, Meetup group, etc.) If you don’t have something to link to, please email the link to at least three friends.
2. Return to the comments section of this post and let us know where you linked to us.
3. Come back on Wednesday to see if you’ve won! The winner’s name will be posted after being drawn out of a top hat.
4. The winner will be asked to send his or her address privately to receive a free, signed copy of the book from the author.
More about author Jee Leong Koh and his book, Equal to the Earth:
In his first full-length collection, Koh speaks with a range of voices--ancestral, recent and contemporary--and travels a span of ground to investigate the imaginary claims of community and self. At the center of this investigation, as of the book, lies the great question of love.
Koh is also the author of Payday Loans, a book of sonnets. His poetry has appeared in Best New Poets and Best Gay Poetry. Born in Singapore, he now lives in New York City, and blogs at Song of a Reformed Headhunter.
"Koh is a vigorous, physical poet very much captured by the expressive power of rhythm, rhetoric, and the lexicon. He is also, paradoxically, a poet in pursuit of the most elusive and delicate of human emotions. The contradiction is wonderful and compelling, and so are his poems."
—Vijay Seshadri, author of The Long Meadow (Graywolf Press)
"His poems are like the sexy nerd you meet at a bar, the one you really want to get to know better—with his glasses and ties on and nothing else."
—Christopher Hennessy, Outside the Lines: Talking with Contemporary Gay Poets (University of Michigan Press)
"Smart, irreverent, often unnerving, these sonnets smirk, smile, argue and bless. Jee Leong Koh has taken a month of days and rendered a very contemporary version of the artist as a young man."
—Marie Howe, on Koh’s Payday Loans
From Equal to the Earth:
In mother’s womb, we started as a pair of lungs,
sea slugs hanging on to a reef. We grew toe rays,
brain sponges and gonads relaxed by the liquid song.
The Doppler ultrasound echoed our submarine
and found us one. The truth was monozygotic—
we sucked each other’s nub of thumb inside the brine.
When, headfirst, we were unceremoniously expelled,
we were halved like an egg sliced with a line of hair.
A beak plucked at the cord and knotted my navel.
Mother never speaks of you although I know
you were with me at sea. How else to understand
my panic playing hide and seek, the cracked canoe,
wet dreams of touching a man, waking up, a curse
crying, not knowing why, like a turtle washed ashore,
a lacquered carapace—these shimmering absences?