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Ouyang Yu / Foreign Matter & Other Poems

  • Ouyang Yu / Foreign Matter & Other Poems
‘Ouyang Yu’s Foreign Matter rages against the vacuity of suburban life, alert to every racist slight, with a linguistic playfulness that shuffles and bounces through English language via the “gibberish keyings of an irrelevant computer”. Here Australia is often depicted as an unabashed identity-less dystopia, a volatile yet bland melting-pot of adopted and imported cultures, a “prisonful” of freedom. From Melbourne’s bay of “muddy fury”, to uneventful suburbs and mown lawns, displaced characters flicker through anger and resignation, cynicism or bemusement, or even psychological breakdown - as sharply depicted in the sequence “Lines Written at the Melbourne Mental” that plays on the word "home". These prickly observations untangle the enduring uneasiness that’s felt in both past and present countries, inhabiting a house “made of time” more than of space. Relentlessly critical, Ouyang’s jagged nuanced poems shred any boundaries, fuelled by their clear-eyed “foreign matter” that is both catalyst and lament.’ - Gig Ryan
'Eureka! Ouyang Yu is unlearning poetry, taking it apart, rethinking, and redesigning the ancient art. He uses all devices, such as his smart phone, laptop, or any conveyance he can get his hands on to create his own brand of anti-poetry in our late capitalist age. He demonstrates that the ordinary tasks of life like “pulling a piss” in the morning or going for a walk in the neighbourhood are the rites of poetry. Yu makes no distinction between high and low art, it’s erased by the evidence of the real. He also occupies that wandering border similarly inhabited by the late poet Jaan Kaplinski, with his observations of domesticity, politics, sadness, and knowledge, to additionally being a poet without borders, a true citizen of the international republic of poetry. Ouyang Yu is a worthy member of a post-national, poly-lingual, multicultural tribe of poets who deserves an audience the size of the world, but the question is, does he want one. At any rate, Yu is proof that a life in poetry by itself is the greater treasure and purpose.’ - Jonathan Hayes
978 1 76109 393 7, 134pp




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