is a book-length poem comprised of lucid dreams, letters, and prayers with the sensual feminine awareness of C.D. Wright, the radiant spirituality of Fanny Howe, the playful erudition of Anne Carson, and the linguistic play of Myung Mi Kim. Ardor employs ecstatic utterances, linguistic migrations, silences, and women’s voices in a feminine consciousness lingering on the mystery of love and glossolalia, speaking tongues in the context of a lyric postmodern aesthetic.
a free PDF Reader’s Companion for Karen An-hwei Lee’s Ardor
A man who desired to make love
Desired to hear the sound of tearing silk
Emerald silk and watered silk, old sienna
Women lined up on the street
No matter the original dye, indigo
Nervous quality of love
Tearing open error
This man, drinking heavily, dark and wilted
Orange lately salmon-colored, falling
Curled lilies parched and falling
Who is coming? asked one of the women
Lining the street for poultry sales
Didn’t observe which way he turned
She and the others never looked back
High spirits waned as our boat turned late
Through a dense patch of fragrant lotus
Oaring and oaring, rowing . . . .
. . .
Barbara Jane Reyes
received an Advance Reader’s Copy of Karen An-hwei Lee’s Ardor
. Her analysis of the book is quite illuminating; Barbara Reyes is clearly a very attentive reader. Consider this couple of lines: "In Ardor
, there is a recurrent I or a she who is a blind woman, and this is ironic, given the concern with ophthalmic texts; as well, Lee’s work is so full of such deep and luscious color: terra cottas, walnuts, cabernets, coral violets, blue raspberries, peach colored roses, azalea, and human heart as pomegranate or pomegranate as human heart. But we can also experience the beauty of these intensely, using our other senses."