TPQ#5: MANDY SUZANNE-WONG

ADAGIO MA NON TROPPO by Ryoko Sekiguchi, tr. Lindsay Turner

This beautiful, trilingual book of prose-poems — Japanese, French, and English — is about convergences and crossroads and paths that cross but never meet, instead slipping past each other unnoticed. “Giving in to the voice suggesting I go outside instead of waiting for the meeting although there’s no way to be sure it’ll stay nice out…”

MONOCHORDS by Yannis Ritsos, tr. Paul Merchant

Each of these one-line poems is a flicker of a story that’s just out of reach, just around the corner, or just missed being noticed by a fraction of a second. “The ring he hid in an even deeper hole.”

FLOAT by Anne Carson

Each time I dip into this clear box of ripple-thin chapbooks of so many shades of blue and green, I never know if I’ll surface with a poem that looks like a poem, a poem that looks like an essay on Homer or Hegel, or “A Pair of Lyric Lectures with Shared Chorus.” Carson refuses to settle on a form; and refusing to settle — that’s hybridity.

THE BOOK OF DISQUIET by Fernando Pessoa, tr. Margaret Jull Costa

It’s rare for anyone to understand and articulate the darknesses of hearts with the meticulousness of Pessoa; yet it is he who shows me how to look at light. Like Lispector and Carson, he elides the poetry-prose distinction.

COMPLETE STORIES by Clarice Lispector, tr. Katrina Dodson

Lispector’s syntactical experiments, her speculative dealings with words — as if with every word she asks herself, “What more could this mean besides itself?” — shake me again and again. Every reread is startling.


Mandy-Suzanne Wong is the author of the award-winning chapbook AWABI (Digging Press, 2019). Her novel DRAFTS OF A SUICIDE NOTE (Regal House, October 2019) was a finalist for the Permafrost Book Prize, a semifinalist for the Conium Review Book Prize, shortlisted for the Santa Fe Writers’ Project Literary Award, awarded an honorable mention in the Leapfrog Press Fiction Contest, and nominated for the PEN Open Book Award and Foreword Indies Book Prize.

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