... one of the most important books of poetry to come along in years. In a tapestry of forms and modes, it chronicles a mother's harrowing and courageous passage through a psychic gauntlet ... With equal parts hope and terror, and no self-delusion, this book summons the kind of love only the imagination can sustain.
Tina Chang is the poet laureate of Brooklyn and, based on the content of her collection Hybrida, the title is well-deserved ... searing, often devastating ... Chang is never content to create a hundred stanzas out of a single idea. The book is a weaving of a hundred threads and motifs into a tapestry of poetic form. The poems here are restlessly, dizzyingly creative: they range from prose poetry to ekphrasis, all in the same lyrical and fierce voice. Sharon Olds or Margaret Atwood come to mind, but Chang is completely and utterly herself ... If at times the verse is so metaphorical as to be obtuse, Chang earns that with the sheer power of the emotions at play ... Overall this is a remarkable book by a poet who taps into the great Over-Soul, as Emerson would put it, and carries the anguish, the urgency she finds there and puts it to paper. This is one of the best poetry collections of 2019.
With its poems of motherhood, of childhood, of race and difference, of being and loving, and of the body, Tina Chang’s Hybrida offers readers plenty to hold on to ... Hybrida is at its core a book of forms—bodily, linguistic, and poetic. Chang brings together poetic structures ... This collage-like mode makes Hybrida a stunning investigation of what textual form is and what it can do ... Chang exhibits her interest in the capacities of different poetic forms to carry both emotional vulnerability and incisive social critique ... The lyric poems of Hybrida are also a kind of singing—and Chang gets them just right.
I didn’t know the imagination could reach so many places with such various surfaces and depths ... What a versatile original sound she has ... vocabulary is exactly what she commands with fierce love, such fierce love it makes tears spring to your eyes. These poems are passionate, transcendent, beautifying pain with words that know what they are: There’s great mastery here.
Hybrida reminds us of a shared responsibility to protect the most vulnerable and to cherish bodies as fragile and wondrous. Many of the poems grieve relatively recent and high-profile losses of somebody’s child, including Michael Brown in the poems 'Creation Myth' and 'Timeline for a Body: 4 Hours, 6 Bullets.' ... Chang weaves a bright gold thread of resistance within these entangled narratives ... Hybrida expresses discontent with ...inherited forms, with our impoverished language for understanding identity and our famished stories of the body. Seeking out the role that poetry might play in reimagining identity, heredity, and family, these works attempt to tell new stories of kinship, especially the relationships between mothers and their children ... Chang’s explorations of motherhood are self-reflective, fiercely loving, and necessarily uncertain ... What is the form protection should take? Could take? Hybrida brings a poet’s careful stewardship of language to the mobilization of moral conscience.
... a beautiful meditation of home and hope and hurt ... a song of love, and creation myths; or perhaps they are our creation truths ... Chang’s talent in capturing how our past breathes in our present makes for poems that feel birthed over years. Her lines are realistic, cautious, and yet ultimately optimistic.
... rarely in poetry have these tenderly matter-of-fact tasks of household maintenance been rendered so persuasively political ... Chang’s narrative conceits will often employ such ironic humor, or, like Tomas Transtromer’s, comment on their subjects using a kind of Deep Image dream logic, or an uncanny animism, resisting pat interpretation ... Chang’s fragmentation is, at heart, an effort at coherence rather than a depiction of ruin; it represents the attempt of an inspired imagination to reconcile at times divergent aspects of a first-generation, twenty-first century American self, whether these are social, political, or simply corporeal ... Tina Chang is seeking—and finding—a lexicon for a particularly American mutability. In Hybrida, with a mature voice engaged in eyewitness reportage, ekphrasis, and lyrical utterance to convey the urgency of one mother’s concerns, a poet has emerged fully dressed.
Although some poems seem too politicized, it helps that Chang writes with a wonderful sense of metaphor ... A mysterious I-narrator speaks, whispers, and sometimes hisses these intense, urgent poems, which ultimately form a lament. For academic holdings and public collections that include a political or own voices element.
... an impressive array of forms ... With more urgency than a news article could achieve, Chang conveys the fear and rage at the reality that the color of her son’s skin will mean she is unable to keep him safe.