This week I picked up Dance Dance Revolution by Cathy Park Hong from my local public library. The title attracted me initially; I expected some wry commentary on pop culture, some autobiographical poems. The usual. And, if you already know anything about the book, you'll know I was quite surprised when I opened it and started reading.
Rather than the realistic mode of poetry I've been surrounded by recently, this collection is a work of imagination and fancy. There are two main speakers in the book: the Desert Guide and the Historian. The Desert Guide speaks in an amalgam of pidgin languages, and the Historian transcribes this speech, and every so often, interjects with some interpretation in standard English. The result is fascinating and quite different from anything I've read recently. The closest comparison I could make would be to Rushdie's Haroun and the Sea of Stories, which would be classified as fiction, of course, but both books have the same fanciful play of language working to drive the story. Since I am still in the middle of reading both books, I can't make any firm conclusions. But I plan to report back next time with a review.
In the meantime, here is a sample from the beginning of Dance Dance Revolution:
3. The Fountain Outside the Arboretum
Ahoy! Whitening wadder fountain. Drink. Afta cuppa-ful
o aqua vitae, yo pissin fang transfomate to puh'ly whites
like Bollywood actress swole en saffron,
flashim her tarta molar to she coquetry man.
So musical! So suggestive. I am entranced. More soon.