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$17.95  $16.69
Sarabande Books
Publish Date
5.8 X 8.8 X 0.4 inches | 0.35 pounds

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About the Author
Simon Shieh is a Taiwanese American poet and essayist. He has lived in upstate New York and Beijing, China, where he co-founded Spittoon Literary Magazine, which translates the best new Chinese writing into English. From 2008-2014 he competed as an amateur and professional Muay Thai fighter in China, Brazil, Argentina, Thailand, and the U.S. Simon's work has been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship and a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. He lives in the U.S. with his wife, Charlotte, and their dog, Momo. Master is his first collection of poems.

Literary Hub, "A Month of Poetic Acrobatics: 7 New Poetry Books to Read in September"

Featured in Poetry Daily

"Simon Shieh's Master is astonishing. . . . Shieh approaches childhood trauma by weaving a series of interconnected lyrics that interrogate power and control. The 'master, ' the 'he' of these poems, runs the martial arts academy where the speaker is a child student. Small gestures shape a trajectory: he 'ties ropes around my wrists, blindfolds me' and 'moves my hand / to the left, moves my foot / to the right.' . . . [But] to extract from this intricate tapestry of a book is to sell it short: read it."

--Rebecca Morgan Frank, Literary Hub, "7 New Poetry Books to Read in September"

"This book feels like one of a kind. . . . Master grapples with dream and memory: the song of hands in motion and the story of hands in action. This lyric and spare work is like the poet's image of a Rottweiler holding butterflies in its mouth before letting them free. The poems can feel solitary and deliberate as 'a sparring partner dancing to his own music.' They can feel sensual and are poetic as 'the water dripping off his body like missed syllables.' Yes, I could introduce this book using nothing but dazzling excerpts. They reckon with the inexpressible. Beauty is set free from a mouth with fangs. I'm proud to select Master for the Kathryn A. Morton prize."

--Terrance Hayes, from the Introduction

"Simon Shieh 'speak[s] the cadence of rain, ' reminding us that 'each of us is a scorched page, part narrative, part dream.' A gifted poet, each line is 'an elegant lure.' Master is a must-read, and Shieh is one of our most exciting and promising emerging poets."

--Sherwin Jay Bitsui, winner of the American Book Award and the PEN Open Book Award for Flood Song

"This is one of the best collections I've read in a while. Simon Shieh's voice is at once crisp and singular. His lines are tight, complex, and layered; his language unspools in powerful movements, so controlled and yet full of the devastating grace that precedes a final blow: 'shattering the bone around my left eye/the doctors called it orbital//my mistake: resting my head/on his shoulder--letting him cradle it in his arms.' The beauty in this book is heartbreaking, brutal. Unsparing in its analysis and deconstruction of power, Master is a startling and stunning debut collection."

--Sally Wen Mao, author of The Kingdom of Surfaces

"If you surrender to Simon Shieh's Master, if you let your eyes grow accustomed to its voluptuous and troubling dark, you will be rewarded with a singular reading experience: merciless in its vision and craft, dripping with muscularity and sweat, Shieh's thrilling debut will leave you breathless."

--Ama Codjoe, author of Bluest Nude