The Fish and the Dove
Author: Mary-Kim Arnold
Publisher: Noemi Press (2020)
From Mary-Kim Arnold: The Fish and the Dove considers the history of occupation, the legacy of the Korean War, and the ways in which official and institutional language of war obfuscates lived experience. In it, I bear witness to what girlhood, womanhood, and motherhood might mean in the context of family, nation, and history. The legendary Assyrian warrior goddess Semiramis haunts this book, and by giving her voice, I attempt to foreground women's experience in narratives that so often tokenize, dehumanize, and exclude them. The text is informed by and appropriates institutional language, including reports of the South Korean Truth and Reconciliation Commission on governmental atrocities committed during the Korean War.
"Incredible writing for our times. The Fish and the Dove is powerful, raw, and honest in its attestations questioning the answers provided by those who decide the fate of another. Mary-Kim Arnold shares the lineage of strong voices like Ai Ogawa and Marosa Di Giorgio yet adds her own exquisite language. The Fish and the Dove is new wind for our literary landscape."
"The shadow cast by the reflection, and the feeling, of looking into a mirror at oneself not only with one’s own eyes but with the eyes of another, especially the compounded eyes of many uninvited others—all threatening to disappear, but not leave—is long, bottomless, and engulfing. And yet in it exists The Fish & The Dove, and the vigilant, avenging poetics of (Saint) Mary-Kim Arnold. I feel, reading this liberatory book, the shattering of that precarious mirror, and, in the reconstitution of its shards, the reclamation of the life—the lives—it held under, faring forward."