Mistaken for an Empire: A Memoir in Tongues

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$21.95  $20.41
Mad Creek Books
Publish Date
5.91 X 8.9 X 0.79 inches | 0.83 pounds

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About the Author
Christine Imperial received her MFA from California Institute of the Arts. Her writing has appeared in Poetry, American Book Review, and elsewhere. Mistaken for an Empire is her first book.
"In translating Kipling's 'The White Man's Burden' into Tagalog, Christine Imperial pries open this notoriously imperialist poem, annotating it with innovative writing full of peril, rebelliousness, and surprise. This dazzling debut is a major contribution to contemporary literary culture." --Michael Leong
"Halt! Sinong binabantayan mo? Christine Imperial carries onto the page Kipling's famous burden and the implications of her name: General Imperial and General MacArthur; a mother and a mirror; a white ex-girlfriend and You're My Foreignoy/Foreignay. Incorporating images, newspaper headlines, and personal memories, she offers memoir as translation, reiteration, poetry, and hybrid desire for belonging. She reminds us: 'the blueprint of a tongue is a crossfire.' Drop everything and read this searing debut." --Gabrielle Civil, author of the déjà vu: black dreams & black time
"Exploding out from Imperial's confrontation with Kipling, this bold debut embodies the ethos of translation by scrutinizing language in all forms--and in so doing tackles questions of culture, race, belonging, and the subjectivity of truth. The result is a searching and nuanced exploration of a selfhood strung between two countries." --Lily Nilipour, Asian Review of Books

"As an adult, [Imperial] attempted what no one else had done: translating ['The White Man's Burden'] into Tagalog. These efforts led Imperial to reflect on her many (often disorienting) moves between the U.S. and the Philippines as well as the pain that translating the poem, alongside her own fractured experiences, represented....Kipling's 'burden, ' Imperial suggests, is far more nuanced than many believe....An intriguing and provocative book."--Kirkus
​​​"Christine Imperial takes to task the misrecognitions so fundamental to the construction of personal identity and to the deployment of language in the world. Never aiming for transcendental insight, this work of poetry and memoir remains true to its original challenge to translate. A shining, subversive work." --Jon Wagner
"Christine Imperial questions her ability to translate a text she has every reason to hate: Rudyard Kipling's poem 'The White Man's Burden.' ... I would say that Imperial is really translating something much murkier and more elusive: her perceptions, her guilt, her love for her family. And it is because of that love that her translation succeeds." --Jess Jensen Mitchell, Full Stop