“Meraki” by Tobi-Hope Jieun Park

A picture is worth a thousand words unless a poet turns the old platitude on its head and creates an image that is worth a thousand pictures. This poet is one of the few I have read lately who speaks in pictures that drive straight to your emotions. It is a book about childhood, so explanations and ideas would not be appropriate. Like childhood memories, this volume is a series of vignettes, flashes of fragments, mostly connected to emotions.

As with any good book of poetry, the works are different, with varying intention and form. Some exist only for the image or emotion they portray. Some are more steeped in the logic of an idea. Some of the poems I don’t understand much, but it is important that I believe, if I really tried, perhaps I could.

The vocabulary is advanced, and sometimes those words are important. Do not read the poem set called “Epistolary” without knowing what the word means.

If I had one request, it would be for more variety of emotion. The feelings in these poems are never ragged or raging. They are toward the beautiful, the even and the gentle, as would be expected from a young Korean girl.

The best poetry I have reviewed this year.

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)


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