The Same-Different (Paperback)
Poems (Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets)
LSU Press, 9780807160091, 72pp.
Publication Date: April 13, 2015
Deceptively straightforward and subtly pyrotechnic, the poems in Hannah Sanghee Park's debut collection captivate with their wordplay at first glance, then give rise to opportunities for extended reflection. "If / truth be told, I can't be true," she writes, but her startling juxtapositions of sound and meaning belie that claim, necessitating a search for the truth behind her semantic games.
Here are dozens of brief sentences that can serve as epigrams to undermine our ordinary ways of seeing, as Park's playfully deployed puns recall the sly paradoxes of Oscar Wilde. The Same-Different ranges from the wonders of the natural world to close human relationships, occasioning the kind of explorations offered in "And A Lie": "The asking was askance. / And the tell all told. / So then, in tandem // Anathema, and anthem."