Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Linda Soo Park’s new book of poems is just an exercise

One you are saving
By Linda Soo Park
Portrayed by Robert Sae-heung

I was reading Heather Crystal before I started Linda Soo Park’s “The Thing Thing You Save” “The Rowing Book.” In one section, Christley described children’s theories about the structure of the moon, published in The American Journal of Psychology in 1902 as “a house entirely in the round face of every child.”

This is the image I kept with me during “The One Thing You Save”, which is not entirely successful in its poetic structure, but reveals a crowded classroom where the children are remarkably deep for a simple assignment question. Let’s share the answers. We see their faces in their mind’s eye, as they are peeping out the window, contemplating with humor and grace what they value most in their young lives.

Park, Newberry Medal Winner Writer “A single shard,” The assignment begins with: “Imagine a fire in your house. You are allowed to save one thing. In the everyday speech of middle school students, their characters respond. “Hey dude, I hate it, I’m never able to decide,” one declares, but they exchange little with each other and in long monologues that follow Sijo’s structure, A poetic form similar to a Korean three-line syllable haiku or tankha.

Although Park borrows from the form, he does not follow it; Most students’ responses include multiple two-to-three-line verses, giving them a jarring quality. The sudden increase at the ends of these lines combined with the push-pull between the forward motion of the speech and the rules of Sijo, in which ideas like subtle voltages are included from one line to another, are more distracting than illuminating.

Children are funny and poetic in themselves, a plurality of voices in discussion and quarrels among themselves. The park embraces chaos, which adds movement to the dialogue. The speaker returns, continues his thoughts, revises his answers.

To answer for themselves, some students take items with sentimental value: an old sweater, a baseball sports program. Others opt for practicality: a phone, a parent’s wallet. Another, hilarious, picks up the rug to stop, drop, and roll over to an old, slow, sure-to-fire neighbor.

One student aims to use new sneakers to remove the flames, while the other swears to “do nothing”. / There is nothing important, “with a gloom that impresses everyone for its non-equality and case-fact:” Come see it on its own, the place is a total dump. “

This seems natural, as Park takes the book into more serious territory, turning the conversation towards grief: a child plays a distinctly specific play-by-play that is actually between the smoke and the bickering It happens; Another recalls the deceased brother, who reminds of another pet dog that died.

The responses are acknowledged by the gray-and-shedded sketch of Robert Say-heung, who recounts imaginative doodles in a notebook, but grounds students’ reflection by depicting them in cartoon form: there’s a sweater , There is the rug, there is the picture.

Although the medium of the park does not always work, its message is powerful: We do not need a great blazing tragedy to determine what we are most precious in our lives; We can define what is important through our thoughts and memories, always at hand, in our heads and hearts – safe, where flames do not reach.

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