then telling be the antidote

by Xiao Yue Shan



“There is an uncommon mastery at work in these poems.” —Donald Revell

Format: paperback
Published: February 2024

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ISBN: 978-1-946482-92-1 Categories: , ,

“To be modern is to thrive among sudden juxtapositions and to witness deep within the unsettling interstices. In then telling be the antidote, juxtapositions—of past and present, of pastoral and urban, of the bitter lessons of the classics and the untaught lessons of the coming days—arrive and insist with awesome velocity. And yet Xiao Yue Shan tempers that velocity with apparently effortless, almost serene control. There is an uncommon mastery at work in these poems.

Donald Revell

“Xiao Yue Shan’s then telling be the antidote wrestles with longing and desire like no other. Shan crafts dynamic and ever-evolving portraits of time, place, and beloveds, and the attention paid to all is proof of the poet’s loving eye. ‘[S]uch is the heaven of images,’ Shan writes, which is an equally apt descriptor of the collection itself. Each poem brings to life moment, memory, history, language, and rebellion—asking the question of what it means to write in the face of or despite all the forces that press upon us. The collection is testament and witness to Shan’s power as a poet.”

Wendy Chen, author of Unearthings

Listen to “A Writer’s World with Shaun Griffin” with special guest Xiao Yue Shan.



In poems of memory, psychogeography, desire, and self-mythologisation, then telling be the antidote is Xiao Yue Shan’s assertion against the malignancy of forceful silences. By illuminating what has been left untold, these writings present the vivid landscape of a mind layering itself over the world, thinking and speaking its way through a myriad of places, objects, and visions. From rooms overlooking Tokyo rivers to Shanghai streets in the thrall of nighttime, Shan throws light on a nation’s quieted crevices, on the distances between the carnal and the eternal, and most pivotally, on the ability of language to elucidate fact with imagination.

“In then telling be the antidote, Xiao Yue Shan writes: ‘Sometimes/we spoke in a language so heavy that we passed/the words around in our hands.’ In this beautiful book of poems, Shan’s language floats in the liminal space between countries, between history, between language. Shan’s poems explore themes of home, gender, politics, all the while exploring the threshold of the long line. These poems are lush and airy at once, uncertain and certain, powerful and gentle. Shan’s voice is unique and her gifts palpable, and we’re so lucky to have her words passed onto our hands.

from the Judge’s Citation by Victoria Chang

Xiao Yue ShanXiao Yue Shan is a poet and editor born in China and living on Vancouver Island. Her chapbook, How Often I Have Chosen Love, was published in 2019).

Additional information

Weight 0.44 lbs
Dimensions 7 × 9 in