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Book Title

The Rupture Tense

Author 1
Jenny Xie
Poem Excerpt
When the morning shivers through the windows:
           some damp spots, coins from another life, left on the pillow.
                               Off camera, someone from long ago stages a return.
Cue expectation, a kind of frugality of the scene.
                  There is movement and a spool of time
                          and, therefore, we begin a narration.
                                                            From the rupture, what is it that you see?
—from “The Rupture Tense”
Shaped around moments of puncture and release, The Rupture Tense registers what leaks across the breached borders between past and future, background and foreground, silence and utterance. In polyphonic and formally restless sequences, Jenny Xie cracks open reverberant, vexed experiences of diasporic homecoming, intergenerational memory transfer, state-enforced amnesia, public secrecies, and the psychic fallout of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Across these poems, memory—historical, collective, personal—stains and erodes. Xie voices what remains irreducible in our complex entanglements with familial ties, language, capitalism, and the histories in which we find ourselves lodged.

The Rupture Tense begins with poems provoked by the photography of Li Zhensheng, whose negatives, hidden under his floorboards to avoid government seizure, provide one of the few surviving visual archives of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, and concludes with an aching elegy for the poet’s grandmother, who took her own life shortly after the end of the Revolution. This extraordinary collection records the aftershocks and long distances between those years and the present, echoing out toward the ongoing past and a trembling future.

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6.5 x 9
The astounding second collection by Jenny Xie, “a magician of perspective and scale” (The New Yorker)

About the Author

Jenny  Xie
Credit: Teresa Mathew
Jenny Xie was born in Anhui, China. She is the author of Eye Level and The Rupture Tense, both of which were shortlisted for the National Book Award. Her honors include recognition from the Academy of American Poets, the Vilcek Foundation, New York Foundation of the Arts, and the Jerome Foundation. She is assistant professor of Written Arts at Bard College and resides in New York City.
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  • “Xie ingeniously leverages Western prosody to expose the fracture between the ‘Asian’ and ‘American’ aspects of Asian American identity.”—Srikanth Reddy, The New York Times Book Review
  • “Luminous. . . . [The Rupture Tense] is a devastating master class in subtlety.”Publishers Weekly, starred review
  • "Line after line, sentence after sentence, whenever I encounter the poetry of Jenny Xie I find myself stuck in small breathless moments of wonder at what the hell she just did."Literary Hub   
  • “Aphoristic and elegant, The Rupture Tense articulates a lucid but challenging wisdom from the interstices of our inner lives.”—David Woo, Harriet Books 
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