Poetry. Asian American Studies. With her second volume, Valerie Hsiung proves herself to be a poet of lyric's volatile possibility, detonating poetry's uncertain truce between reader and speaker, the deadly and the inconsequential, the profound and the profane. YOU & ME FOREVER performs a multitude of teetering voices through a multitude of tangency points--between the violence enacted against girl bodies and the violence enacted against earth, between inherited language or mother tongue and made/found language or acquired tongue, between the speaking machine and the transhuman, between the woman as artist and the woman as monster, between the horizontality of plain speech and the verticality of lyric fragments. In response, the reader's role fluctuates from direct addressee to participant, from chorus member to puppet master--all while the dark angel of the circus hovers above like a shadow on the page.
A storied, oscillating breath-scape, a wondrous tertium quid, Valerie Hsiung's YOU & ME FOREVER maps a world that moves as simultaneously paradoxical, relational, and permutational. Edged with the epic, speech-based and strange, the writings enact the promise of dreams as they address matters of hauntings and bodies, displacement, and the nature of capital, exile, and art. Here the narrative ripples, achieves both temporal and spatial possibilities, works both boundariness and dissolve. A destabilizing marvel.--Hoa Nguyen
The first time I read Valerie Hsiung's YOU & ME FOREVER, I had a vision of a bonfire in which countless volumes of love-twisted and love-twisting works of literature, including sculptures and films, were reduced to ash, and from the ashes were intuitively yet precisely drawn filaments on which were inscribed prophetic dialogues that voiced the poet's relationship with the forces that would come to make, and perpetually threaten to unmake, her world. The second time I read YOU & ME FOREVER, there was neither filament nor fire, but an animated frieze, or maybe rainfall or serrated light, of intimate retribution, that is retributive intimacy. I say read, but that is not the word that accurately describes what actually happened.--Brandon Shimoda.