Mad Science in Imperial City by Shanxing Wang


a fearless work of intense integration, a continuous curve over infinite sums of personal and national history, the poem felt to me written with the urgency of the refugee in flight — but sculpted methodically, like a life-sentenced prisoner painstakingly making his case.

“the science of fiction” (p. 107).

what does it mean for the accented speaker to write non-accented english?

…especially, in the case of this book, which is not a narrative of “passing” (though, yes, one of immigration), where there is a smooth and awesomely fluent bricolage of multiple languages (accented english, the queen’s english, mandarin, political commentary, advertising language, bank language, ping pong tournament chatroom language, and certainly not least: physics and number theory language) into one unified language: the language of the poem

–which, in this case (“the world is everything that is the bookcase” is one of many lovely embedded puns), is a long-breath lyric of defiance and alienation and apologia.

from the rigid, exacting sentences of logic propositions and mathematical proofs, the poet makes confession and agony. how does he do it?

“…this rain never ends this ride has not and will never have an arrival this storm is in the room is the room this room is the black body radiating omnidirectionally at such a temperature that the maximum emission is at the wavelength of yellow this yellow room overlooks and pours into the moaning moat of the capital to find the Gaussian curvature of white heads of the decapitated geese the Green’s function and the false projection of the moon” (p. 130).

i don’t know how it is done, but at one point the poet does reveal his ambition:

“I have been secretly investigating the technical viability of and devising methodologies for, in the true literal sense of poetics, direct writing, which is maskless, therefore mask-related-error-free, sequential thus slow in throughput, and targeting only application-specific readers, who are numbered and whose reading patterns behave too erratically to justify the expense of mask production” (p.61).


an interview

and do a search for “wang” in this pdf for the uncommon poet bio

get it from a local library or buy from SPD

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