Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
Cathy Song, born in Hawaii to Asian American parents, published Picture Bride, her first book of poetry, in 1983. The collection, which won for the author the 1982 Yale Younger Poets Prize, encompasses many of Song’s most noted works. Themes of womanhood, motherhood, childhood, and family relationships appear throughout Picture Bride, artfully woven in poems that invoke quietude and fluidity. Song’s voice flows through her poems, carrying the reader from one image to another. Skillfully designed themes and literary devices craft her work’s settings, backdrops, and scenes.
Song approaches her subjects with a certain delicacy, a certain lightness: “Rinsing through his eyes/ and dissolving all around him/ is sunlight on water” (“Untouched Photograph of Passenger”). She appeals to the senses: “I turn bolts of cloth into wedding dresses/ like chiffon cakes in the summer” (“The Seamstress”). She often enchants and delights the reader with color: “The same blue tint/ of the hydrangea in glass,/ here on the table,/ now as I write” (“Hotel Geneve”). Weaving color, delicacy, and lightness together, she produces memorable images: “The light at each window/ becoming dimmer like a pulse/ beneath the thickening/ walls of ice, blue and iridescent” (“January”). Interlacing images, the poet creates poignant scenes.
In “The Youngest Daughter,” a young girl acts as caretaker for her aging mother. The...
(The entire section is 1164 words.)
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