Bao Phi gets potent recognition


It never hurts to have your name in the New York Times, and if it's in the form of a positive review it's a huge boost.

Minneapolis poet Bao Phi's new collection "Song I Sing" (Coffee House Press) was one of three new poetry books reviewed by Dana Jennings in the Times.

"In this strong and angry work of what he calls refugeography," Jennings writes, "Bao Phi, who has been a performance poet since 1991, wrestles with immigration, class and race in America at sidewalk level. To hip-hop beats and the squeal and shriek of souped-up Celicas stalking the city streets, he rants and scowls at a culture in which Asians are invisible, but also scolds his peers 'Bleached by color-blind lies/Buying DKNY and Calvin Klein/So our own bodies are gentrified.'"

The critic finishes, "In this song of his very American self, every poem Mr. Phi writes rhymes with the truth."

Indeed. You can hear Phi reading poems from "Song I Sing" here. The NYT review is already online, and will appear in tomorrow's print edition.

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