Debts & Lessons

Debts & Lessons

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Author: Lynn Xu 

Publisher: Omindawn (2013)

The poems in Lynn Xu’s striking debut collection, Debts & Lessons, travel under the power of history’s illusory engine and echo its ululations of love, violence, and lament. Named after the first part of Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations, this book also finds its way across oceans and between languages, as the poet looks to the dead for guidance amid the abstractions of contemporary life. Xu pays her phantoms (and her readers) with the dream-currency of hallucinatory songs, which balance her finely-tuned ear against a world of awakenings.

“Lynn Xu makes the poetic line a little theater where the belatedness of language is felt—and sometimes lulled into suspension. [She] is an expert at multiplying sites of resonance and ambiguity, of conjoining or confusing epochs and zones.”  

–Ben Lerner

“Lynn Xu’s Debts & Lessons is a book of influences and emanations. . . . Hers is a poetry of theodicy and, as she traces the features of her own face in the faces of the past, striking originality.”  

–Susan Stewart