The Curious Thing: Poems (Hardcover)

The Curious Thing: Poems (Hardcover)

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Author: Sandra Lim

Publisher: W. W. Norton (2021)

Truthful, sensuous, and intellectually relentless, the poems in The Curious Thing are compelling meditations on love, art making, solitude, female fate, and both the mundane and serious principles of life. Sandra Lim’s poetry displays stinging wit and a tough-minded approach to her own experiences: She speaks with Jean Rhys about beauty, encounters the dark loneliness that can exist inside a relationship, and discovers a coiled anger on a hot summer day. An extended poem sequence slyly revolves the meanings of finding oneself astray in midlife. A steely strength courses through the volume’s myriad discoveries—Lim’s lucidity and tenderness form a striking complement to her remarkable metaphors and the emotional clamor of her material.

Animated by a sense of reckoning and a piercing inwardness, these anti-sentimental poems nevertheless celebrate the passionate and empathetic subjective life.

"Lim’s voice, which is fiercer and more dexterous than ever, brings into being a collection of powerful, dark, and inscrutable poems that defy gravity."

–Aria Aber

"These are poems of passion and self-scrutiny and female rage, but Sandra Lim is not a poet of explosive feeling. The poems have a prose elegance; they are cool, detached, ruminative, with a kind of whistle-in-the-dark bravado. Here is a mind studying itself and its ambivalence, exact at every turn and, by the end, breathtaking."

–Louise Glück

"I stop my life when I see Sandra Lim’s name and enter her little worlds with big feelings. In her hands, precision and audacity meld into a performance of quiet, implacable force. This collection, too, is a force. It has its own gravity. It shows us what can be revealed when we’re pulled so close to language we can’t look away, language where the sentence is clear, concussive, and reigning."

–Ocean Vuong