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Ame Ai

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Member Since: Nov, 2008

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Ame Ai, Fringe and Frivolity, Baltimore, PublishAmerica, 2010
by Ame Ai   
Not "rated" by the Author.
Last edited: Monday, August 16, 2010
Posted: Monday, August 16, 2010

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Reviewed by Yearn Hong Choi

This book is Ame Ai’s fourth or fifth poetry book. She is a prolific poet who can produce that many poetry books in a couple of years. This poetry book is different from her previous poetry books because she declares her status as an adoptee to an American family when she was an infant from Korea and her poems are reflections of her adopted child status and adoptee woman status in the United States. Naturally, she felt that she was a member of the borderland between Korea and the United States. She still feels that way.

She talks about her poetry book in the first paragraph of her Introduction: “Fringe and Frivolity is about the fringes of society and the fringes of the mind. Everyone belongs to some sort of fringe group; they are called niche group. It means that you belong to a group that is not mainstream, not normal, but common, distinctly yours.” She is right. Everyone is situated in the borderland of the society, nation, and the Earth. However, she has disclosed her crisis of identity in particular. She seems to be concerned about her Korean look and racial and ethnic background. She was raised by an American family, so her values and behaviors are American. Except for her look, she is an American. The problem is this: it is easy to say that she is a Korean-American, but she is neither Korean nor American. All adopted children may share her concern. I am sympathetic to her, but I feel the same way. I ask myself: Who am I? I have been living in the United States since 1968, but I am not yet an American. My children born in this country may feel the same way.



Well, Ame Ai is a poetess. So she produces protest poems or revolt poems against the so-called Establishment. Family or parental authority is challenged. Religion or philosophy is challenged. Hypocrisy in moral values is condemned. Her poetry is comparable to Allen Ginsberg’s Howl in the 1960s.

Ame Ai’s social protest poems are noteworthy in this poetry book.



At the same time, I still see her exploration of sexuality or romantic relationships with a man or men, including black and white. Poetry and sexuality can be well-mixed, as much as romantic novels and sexuality. Poetry is using metaphor and a certain amount of ambiguity.

I hope one major publishing house in New York will publish her next poetry book. Her poetry can attract many poetry readers. She knows how to weave her mind with poetry that can appeal to the wider audience.

Ame Ai, Fringe and Frivolity, Baltimore, PublishAmerica, 2010

 

Reviewed by Yearn Hong Choi

 

This book is Ame Ai’s fourth or fifth poetry book. She is a prolific poet who can produce that many poetry books in a couple of years. This poetry book is different from her previous poetry books because she declares her status as an adoptee to an American family when she was an infant from Korea and her poems are reflections of her adopted child status and adoptee woman status in the United States. Naturally, she felt that she was a member of the borderland between Korea and the United States. She still feels that way.

 

She talks about her poetry book in the first paragraph of her Introduction: “Fringe and Frivolity is about the fringes of society and the fringes of the mind. Everyone belongs to some sort of fringe group; they are called niche group. It means that you belong to a group that is not mainstream, not normal, but common, distinctly yours.” She is right. Everyone is situated in the borderland of the society, nation, and the Earth. However, she has disclosed her crisis of identity in particular. She seems to be concerned about her Korean look and racial and ethnic background. She was raised by an American family, so her values and behaviors are American. Except for her look, she is an American. The problem is this: it is easy to say that she is a Korean-American, but she is neither Korean nor American. All adopted children may share her concern. I am sympathetic to her, but I feel the same way. I ask myself: Who am I? I have been living in the United States since 1968, but I am not yet an American. My children born in this country may feel the same way.

 

Well, Ame Ai is a poetess. So she produces protest poems or revolt poems against the so-called Establishment. Family or parental authority is challenged. Religion or philosophy is challenged. Hypocrisy in moral values is condemned. Her poetry is comparable to Allen Ginsberg’s Howl in the 1960s. I quote one poem from her poetry book:

 

To the Blindfolded

 

The world is unjust.

There are no ifs, ands, buts, ups, down, sideways, turnarounds, underneaths, aboves, insides, upsides, downsides, howevers, unlesses, if onlys, beatings around the bush (oh, are there beatings), distortions, corruptions, disruptions, etc. about it.

Only enlightenment, which is usually false.

There’s no such thing as a truth uttered from a human mouth.

Or if there is it was burned at the stake like a bound book.

No one can believe or wants to believe in anything just.

That would just be suicidal.

The world is a false world filled with dreams and illusions.

I am that which I detest….a figment of your imagination.

 

Ame Ai’s social protest poems are noteworthy in this poetry book.

 

At the same time, I still see her exploration of sexuality or romantic relationships with a man or men, including black and white. Poetry and sexuality can be well-mixed, as much as romantic novels and sexuality. Poetry is using metaphor and a certain amount of ambiguity. I quote another poem from her book:

 

Virgins

 

I love them.

They do not know how safe I’d be

And I won’t let go (of one in particular).

I have a tarnished body

And an innocent soul.

 

They are my friends,

Camarades, and mates.

I smile at them and they make me laugh.

We are the same if we took the same path.

I love them.

 

I believe all women who lost virginity can maintain their innocent soul. Ame Ai is one of the women I know in this world.

 

I hope one major publishing house in New York will publish her next poetry book. Her poetry can attract many poetry readers. She knows how to weave her mind with poetry that can appeal to the wider audience.

 

 

Web Site: Ame Ai



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